SECURITY firm Symantec has revealed that a cyber weapon has infected over 1,000 US and European energy firms.

The Malware, called “Energetic Bear”, allows hackers access to energy consumption in real time, granting them the ability to control and inhibit power plants, gas pipelines, and wind turbines, among other energy systems.

Last year Energetic Bear infiltrated three leading energy control systems companies, causing firms worldwide to download the malware.

The virus is said to resemble the U.S.-Israeli programme Stuxnet, which succeeded in infiltrating Iran’s uranium enrichment plant.

Of the 84 countries affected, Symantec senses the highest level of activity (27%) in Spain, followed by 24% in the United States.

The group behind Energetic Bear, called Dragonfly, has been linked to Russia and according to Symantec “has all the markings of being state-sponsored.”

However, Symantec notes that these links can be misleading, as Chinese hackers involved in similar activity have diverted attacks through Russia to cover their tracks.

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