Cyber espionage describes the stealing of secrets stored in digital formats or on computers and IT networks. 
In 2012, European security researchers report that a cyber espionage virus found on personal computers in several countries in the Middle East is designed to eavesdrop on financial transactions and perhaps disable industrial control systems.
Researchers at Kaspersky Lab, a Russian IT security company, in Moscow identified the surveillance virus, dubbed Gauss, on PCs in Lebanon and other countries in the region and say it appears to have been developed by the same team or ‘factory’ that built the Stuxnet and Flame computer viruses.
Stuxnet, which was first discovered in 2010, is widely believed to have been used by the US and Israel to attack computer-controlled centrifuges at a uranium enrichment facility in Iran which disrupted the country's nuclear programme.
Similarly, Flame, which was discovered in 2012, has been implicated in an attack on a computer system at Iran’s main oil export terminal and its oil ministry.
Analysis of the Gauss virus has revealed that it contains multiple modules designed to collect information and send detailed data about the infected machines back to its creators. Kaspersky said it is also capable of stealing data from the clients of several Lebanese banks.