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Malware menaces Merkel's minion, says Spiegel

NSA Regin trojan hit German Chancellery chief's laptop

Powerful malware with speculative National Security Agency (NSA) links has infected the private laptop of Germany's secretary of state in the Federal Chancellery, according to reports by national news digger Der Spiegel.

The Regin-derived malware in question is thought to be a plugin dubbed Qwerty, used in the NSA's WarriorPride framework.

That connection is based on Snowden documents and deep technical analysis that also shows Regin bears links to the infamous Stuxnet malware and spin-offs Flame and Duqu, as well as the long-running and truly advanced Equation hacking group which has operated for some 15 years and infected hundreds of targets.

The current Chancellery chief is Peter Altmaier, who has held office since 2013. The Chancellery is charged with assisting the German Chancellor, presently Mrs Angela Merkel.

Der Spiegel does not specify who was in the seat when the attacks occurred but says the compromise was discovered in 2014.

Germany's federal prosecutor's office is investigating the attacks but has not provided a timeline for the probe.

News of the alleged infection comes after the country's former Attorney General Harald Range dropped a probe into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Merkel's mobile phone revealed in October 2013.

Merkel was also thought to be the first of multiple German Government officials to be compromised by Russian-based actors who used her computer to spread a trojan thought to have ultimately infected some 20,000 systems. ®

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