“Athena” was activated back in August 2015, shortly after Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public. According to WikiLeaks, the CIA created the spyware in collaboration with the cyber security firm Siege Technologies.
In the documentation about the spyware, WikiLeaks explains how the malicious software works. WikiLeaks says that “the malware provides a beaconing capability (including configuration and task handling), the memory loading/unloading of malicious payloads for specific tasks and the delivery and retrieval of files to/from a specified directory on the target system.”
In addition, WikiLeaks mentions a system related to “Athena” called “Hera” which targets Windows 8 through Windows 10. The news comes just one week after the ransomware “WannaCrypt” targeted more than 230.000 computers running Microsoft Windows.
How to protect your computer
Despite the fact that Microsoft hasn't reported any attacks yet, users should take precautions. The company always suggests that PC owners should upgrade to Windows 10 and regularly update their computers.
Given that Microsoft managed to patch the vulnerability that the “WannaCrypt” ransomware targeted, it could be possible that the company has already worked to create patches against “Athena” and “Hera”.