During the week Kaspersky announced they had found one of the most dangerous pieces of virus code to date. The ‘Flame’ virus is actually that good that the company said that it was likely a government sponsor was behind the code.
Vitaly Kamlyuk, a senior antivirus expert at Kaspersky said “We entered a dark room in search of something and came out with something else in our hands, something different, something huge and sinister.”
He said that Flame can turn on a computer microphone, record all sounds in the area, copy and steal data and audio files, take screen shots, read documents and emails and capture logins and passwords. It would in fact be easier to document what it can’t do.
The malicious code can even communicate with other computers via infected Bluetooth capabilities, without the need for an internet connection.
Kamlyuk added “We haven’t figured out yet whether it can carry out some destructive actions but we can say with confidence that it is a powerful universal set of tools for cyber espionage. Many people still think that cyber warfare is a myth and a fantasy but as we reassemble and study one by one the numerous components and modules of this unique program we see that it is a real weapon of this undeclared war that is already going on.”
Experts worldwide have been impressed with the code which was found by Kaspersky Lab after they were asked by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union to check reports of suspicious computer activity.
The impact of this virus has yet to be fully disclosed, however we already know it has infiltrated the Iranian oil industry. Other reports indicate that it has also targeted state related organisations and individuals in the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan.
Experts are keen on trying to find out where the code originated from, especially as it is more dangerous than Stuxnet. Kaspersky feel that it is a government backed program developed behind closed doors.
Kamlyuk said “Cyber weapons like Stuxnet and Flame can be potentially considered serious threats to national security. Humankind has entered a new era, the era of cyber war, but we don’t want to paint scary scenarios and provide potential clues for current and future perpetrators of such attacks.”
Kitguru says: It wouldn’t be the first time a government has created malicious code to suit its own desires.