Spying made simple: Hackers using old tools against government computers

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PARIS (AP) — A Romanian security firm says it has discovered a ring of digital spies using bottom-rung tools to break into hundreds of government computers. The find suggests that you don’t necessarily need sophistication to steal secrets.

Bitdefender analyst Bogdan Botezatu said the previously undiscovered hacking group flew under researchers’ radar by using well-worn electronic espionage techniques, some more than a decade old.

He told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the group’s “simplicity is its strength.”

Botezatu wouldn’t be drawn on the group’s identity or its targets beyond saying that victims included a slew of government agencies. He said he needed to be discreet to avoid disrupting ongoing investigations.

The group, dubbed Netrepser, is dissected in a 20-page report published Friday.

Attempts to reach the hackers were unsuccessful.