When it comes to computer security, no virus is quite as famous as Stuxnet. Stuxnet is a computer worm long believed to be a cyberwarfare strike against Iranian nuclear capabilities, is definitely a troublesome computer infection, but it’s got nothing on a newly-discovered computer infection believed to be an act of warfare. On Monday, cyber security experts announced the discovery of a new computer virus called Flame, which is raging through computers throughout the Middle East.
Long story short, Flame is the perfect fusion between cyberwar spying and real-world spying due to its capabilities. Flame can spread between networked computers, via USB drive, or via Bluetooth devices. Once inside a computer, it waits for programs of interest to run, then it takes screenshots, turns on internal microphones to record conversations, monitors chats and emails, and monitors network traffic. Once Flame captures that information, it encrypts the data and sends it off to a command-and-control computer located somewhere else.
If that sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Flame has been described as the most complex piece of malware ever discovered by engineers at Boston-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. Assumed to be a device under the control of a nation state rather than hackers, it is believed that only four countries have the capability to develop such a piece of malwar: The United States, China, Russia, and Israel.
“It pretty much redefines the notion of cyberwar and cyberespionage,” says Alexander Gostev, head of Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team. ”Flame can easily be described as one of the most complex threats ever discovered. It’s big and incredibly sophisticated.” He adds, “While its features are different, the geography and careful targeting of attacks coupled with the usage of specific software vulnerabilities seems to put it alongside those familiar ‘super-weapons’ currently deployed in the Middle East by unknown perpetrators.”
Tags: computer viruses, cyber war, cyber warfare, cyberwar, hackers, Flame, Flame computer virus discovered, cyberwarfare, cybersecurity, kaspersky lab, kaspersky, flame is the most complex computer worm ever, computer surveillance worm, Alexander Gostev, Global Research and Analysis Team