Most Complex Spy Virus to Date ‘Flame’ Infects Israel & Middle East
A new data-stealing virus has been discovered inside thousands of Middle Eastern computers
Security experts recently discovered the most complex piece of malicious software to date, which they have dubbed ‘Flame’.
‘Flame’ is a data-stealing virus that has found it’s way into thousands of computers across the Middle East. The experts believe the virus has been active for five years and is part of an intricate cyber warfare campaign.
Roel Schouwenberg, senior researcher at Kaspersky Lab, is part of the team that discovered ‘Flame’. The team’s lab work was made available on Monday.
The team at Kaspersky Lab does not know who built the virus, but if their research analysis is correct, ‘Flame’ could be the third major cyber weapon uncovered, following ‘Stuxnet’ which attacked Iran’s nuclear programme in 2010 and data-sealing virus ‘Duqu’.
Kaspersky Lab, based in Russia and controlled by malware researcher Eugene Kaspersky originally gained international recognition after solving several mysteries relating to ‘Stuxnet’ and ‘Duqu’.
The lab believes that other cyber warfare initiatives must be going on, considering the number of years ‘Flame’ was active and undiscovered.
If Flame went on undiscovered for five years, the only logical conclusion is that there are other operations ongoing that we don't know about," Schouwenberg said.
The research team admits that they are only beginning to understand ‘Flame’ due to it’s complexity. Apparently, ‘Flame’ contains approximately 20 times as much code as ‘Stuxnet’ and 100 times as much code as a typical virus designed to steal financial information.
‘Flame’ is capable of collecting data files, changing settings on remote computers, turning on PC microphones in order to record conversations, taking screen shots, and logging instant message chats.
Kaspersky Lab’s research shows that the largest number of infected computers is in Iran, followed by Israel/Palestine, Sudan, and Syria.
To read more about ‘Flame’, click here.