(Reuters) - Hackers targeted dozens of computer systems at government agencies across Europe in a series of attacks that exploited a recently discovered security flaw in Adobe Systems Inc's software, security researchers reported on Wednesday.
Russia's Kaspersky Lab and Hungary's Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security, or CrySyS, said the targets of the campaign included government computers in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal and Romania.
They also said that a think tank, research institute and healthcare provider in the United States were among those targeted by the malicious software, which they have dubbed "MiniDuke".
The MiniDuke hackers attacked their victims by exploiting recently discovered security bugs in Adobe's Reader and Acrobat software. They sent their targets PDF documents tainted with malware, an approach that hackers commonly use to infect PCs.
Boldizsár Bencsáth, a cyber security expert who runs the malware research team at CrySyS, told Reuters he believed the attackers installed "back doors" at dozens of victim organizations that would enable them to view information on those systems, then siphon off data they found interesting.
"This is a unique, fresh and very different type of attack," said Kurt Baumgartner, a senior security researcher with Kaspersky Lab. "The technical indicators show this is a new type of threat actor that hasn't been reported on before."