Source:A highly sophisticated and malicious computer virus whose complexity exceeds all other known cyber menaces to date, has been discovered and is actively being used as a cyber weapon attacking entities in several countries.
The Flame malware is currently affecting countries in the Middle East such as Iran, Israel, Sudan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Vitaly Kamluk, Kaspersky's chief malware expert, told the BBC that more than 600 specific targets were hit, ranging from individuals, businesses, academic institutions and government systems.
Kamluk said the size and sophistication of Flame suggested it was not the work of independent cybercriminals, and more likely to be government-backed. "Currently there are three known classes of players who develop malware and spyware: hacktivists, cybercriminals and nation states."
"The geography of the targets and also the complexity of the threat leaves no doubt about it being a nation-state that sponsored the research that went into it," Kamluk added.
"Flame is not designed to steal money from bank accounts. It is also different from rather simple hack tools and malware used by the hacktivists. So by excluding cybercriminals and hacktivists, we come to conclusion that it most likely belongs to the third group."
Prof Alan Woodward, from the Department of Computing at the University of Surrey, told the BBC, the attack is very significant: "This is basically an industrial vacuum cleaner for sensitive information," he told the BBC.
Prof Woodward agreed with Eugene Kaspersky when describing the complexity of Flame in comparison to Stuxnet: "Whereas Stuxnet just had one purpose in life, Flame is a toolkit, so they can go after just about everything they can get their hands on."
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