Information from the U.S. Department of Transportation and several U.S. companies was stolen by hackers who seduced employees with fake job-listings on advertisements and e-mail, a computer security firm said. The companies include consulting firm Booz Allen, computer services company Unisys Corp, computer maker Hewlett- Packard Co and satellite network provider Hughes Network Systems, a unit of Hughes Communications Inc, said Mel Morris, chief executive of British Internet security provider Prevx Ltd.
From the list, only Unisys acknowledged that viruses had been detected and removed from two PCs, saying no information had been leaked. A Department of Transportation spokeswoman said the agency could not find any indication of a breach and a spokeswoman for Hughes said she was unaware of any breaches.
Prevx said the malware it identified uses a program named NTOS.exe that probes PCs for confidential data, then sends it to a Web site hosted on Yahoo Inc. That site's owner is likely unaware it is being used by hackers, Morris said.
He believes the hackers have set up several "sister" Web sites that are collecting similar data from other squadrons of malware. It was not clear whether the hackers used any information stolen from more than 1,000 PCs.
Hackers only targeted a limited group of computers so they could easily keep a low profile and stay undetected.