Shalom Life | April 17, 2014

Flame Virus Developed by US and Israel

Sophisticated virus created to prepare for cyber-sabotage of Iran’s nuclear program

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: June 21st, 2012 in Business » Israel

Flame Virus Developed by US and Israel

A sophisticated computer virus nicknamed, “Flame” was jointly developed by Israel and the United States in order to slow down Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, according to Western officials.

The virus was designed by both countries to collect intelligence in preparation for a cyber-sabotage of Iran’s nuclear program, according to a report by the Washington Post.

The report cited unnamed Western officials with knowledge of the effort, saying it involved collaboration by the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel’s military. None of the agencies would comment on the development.

Flame secretly mapped and monitored Iran’s computer networks and transferred a steady stream of intelligence to prepare for a cyber­-warfare campaign, the officials told the Post.

The effort involved the use of destructive software such as the Stuxnet virusto cause malfunctions in Iran’s nuclear-enrichment equipment.

Flame has been described as both the most sophisticated spyware yet and the successor to Stuxnet, according to tech.blorge.com. Stuxnet gained worldwide prominence in 2010 when it emerged as a virus custom-designed to attack a specific piece of equipment in the Iranian nuclear program.

There was suspicion that Stuxnet was the work of a specific nation-state, and anonymous government sources recently reported it was authorized by the Obama administration.

Flame differs from Stuxnet in two ways, the tech site reports. It operates on a modular approach, taking a base of code and then updating itself with sections of code for specific tasks when they become necessary. Tracking the virus is very difficult because different machines have various combinations of code modules.

Flame also takes a comprehensive approach to data gathering, using keyloggers, screenshots, sound recordings and webcam monitoring methods.

The timing and similarities in code suggest that Flame came from the same source as Stuxnet, according to security analysts that say it was likely used as a back-up plan and is so sophisticated that it must also be the work of a particular nation-state. Experts described the overlap as DNA-like evidence that the two sets of malware were parallel projects run by the same entity, the Post reported.

The virus hid in computer operating systems as a routine Microsoft software update and has reportedly been infiltrating computer systems for the last five years. Sources say it evaded detection for so long by using a sophisticated program to crack an encryption algorithm.

But last month, when Iran detected a series of cyber-attacks on its oil industry, Flame finally found itself under the public eye. The disruptive attack on Iran's oil industry was a unilateral operation carried out by Israel that caught the US off-guard, according to the Post, who received the information from several US and Western officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

“This is not something that most security researchers have the skills or resources to do,” said Tom Parker, chief technology officer for FusionX, a security firm that specializes in simulating state-sponsored cyber-attacks. “You’d expect that of only the most advanced cryptomathematicians, such as those working at NSA.”

Cyber-attacks on Iran’s nuclear program initially began under the George W. Bush administration but have increased under the Obama administration, according to the New York Times.

Google's Modular Phone Will Change the Mobile Industry Google's Modular Phone Will Change the Mobile Industry TrendingTop 10 Israeli Futuristic Technologies Top 10 Israeli Futuristic Technologies TrendingBoutique Hotels: The Future of Jerusalem's Hospitality Industry Boutique Hotels: The Future of Jerusalem's Hospitality Industry Trending
 

Missouri Mayor 'Agrees' with Kansas Shooter

April 16, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Missouri Mayor 'Agrees' with Kansas Shooter

Dan Clavenger, the mayor of Marionville, Mo., said Frazier Glenn Miller, who killed three people at Jewish centers Sunday, was "nice and friendly"

Read More

‘The View’ Co-Hosts Past and Present to Reunite For Barbara Walters Farewell

April 16, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
‘The View’ Co-Hosts Past and Present to Reunite For Barbara Walters Farewell

All 11 co-hosts of 'The View' will appear on stage together for the first time

Read More

Top 7 Most Exciting Alternative Modes of Transport in Israel

April 16, 2014 | By Karin Kloosterman
Top 7 Most Exciting Alternative Modes of Transport in Israel

Folding cars and scooters, a cardboard bike, a no-impact wheel and a 'floating' rapid transit system are here or soon to appear in Israel

Read More

Stop Spreading Lies! AC/DC Are Not Breaking Up

April 16, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Stop Spreading Lies! AC/DC Are Not Breaking Up

The band has finally addressed recent rumors regarding their split

Read More

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher Are Expecting a Girl

April 16, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher Are Expecting a Girl

The happily engaged couple have announced the sex of their baby

Read More

James Franco Appears in 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Without His Knowledge

April 16, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
James Franco Appears in 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Without His Knowledge

The actor is apparently making a cameo in the upcoming sequel to 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'.

Read More

Sorry, Chelsea Handler Fans. She's Not Replacing Craig Ferguson

April 16, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Sorry, Chelsea Handler Fans. She's Not Replacing Craig Ferguson

CBS quashed the rumors regarding Handler taking Ferguson's 'Late Late Night' spot

Read More

Jewish Hall of Fame: David Ben-Gurion

April 16, 2014 | By Zak Edwards
Jewish Hall of Fame: David Ben-Gurion

Ben-Gurion was the primary founder and first Prime Minister of the State of Israel

Read More

More Headlines