While cybersecurity legislation may be stalled on Capitol Hill, hacker groups large and small remain persistent in putting forth more targeted and malicious cyber attacks.

Just days after the Olympic Games ended in London, the UK’s Guardian reported that security advisers, in advance of the Games, warned that a cyber attack on the Olympics power supply was possible.

While some believed the odds of an attack were not viable, according to the Guardian, authorities made an effort to enhance cybersecurity with several tests to the Olympics “backup manually-operated power supply.”

“We do not comment on specific threats,” a British government spokesperson told the Guardian. “The high profile of the Olympic Games meant that it was a potential target and we put in measures to help protect against such threats and we are committed to ensuring every conceivable preparation is made in order to deliver a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

And while London appears to have avoided an Olympic cyber attack, the Middle East can’t seem to stay out of the cyber bull’s-eye.

Nearly three months after reporting on Iran’s hit by the malicious surveillance malware Flame, Kaspersky Lab last week announced the discovery of a new virus targeting the Middle East.

Dubbed “Gauss”, the malware is said to have “striking resemblances” –in terms of design and code base– to the Flame virus, which many security researchers speculated was developed by both the US and Israel.

“Gauss is a complex cyber-espionage toolkit, with its design emphasizing stealth and secrecy,” Kaspersky’s chief security expert Alexander Gostev said in a statement. “Gauss targets multiple users in select countries to steal large amounts of data, with a specific focus on banking and financial information.”

And while the Kaspersky teams continues to research Gauss, with a call to white hat hackers for help with the decryption, another attack may to be looming for both cyber and outer space.

According to PC Magazine, New York-based security firm Flashpoint Partners discovered an online discussion from a hacker believed to be associated with Anonymous, seeking partners for a cyber attack on NASA’s ‘Curiosity’ rover being used for the agency’s latest mission on Mars.

“Anyone in Madrid, Spain or Canbarra who can help isolate the huge control signal used for the Mars Odyssey / Curiosity system please?” the hacker asked on one of Anonymous’ private message boards being monitored by Flashpoint.

While PC Magazine said an attack on the rover is plausible, before you give up hope on seeing more photos from the NASA-explored Red Planet, Flashpoint noted that as of last week, the hacker had received no replies to his proposal.

Michelle Kincaid is a DC-based public affairs professional specializing in technology policy. She is also founder of the blog CybersecurityNews.org.  Follow her on Twitter at @OnCybersecurity.

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Michelle Kincaid is a DC-based public affairs professional specializing in technology policy. She is creator of the blog CybersecurityNews.org.

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