Flame virus, a powerful cyber espionage tool, can steal data and delete files

Saturday, June 30, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: flame, malware, cyber espionage

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
CDC issues flu vaccine apology: this year's vaccine doesn't work!
The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
Tetanus vaccines found spiked with sterilization chemical to carry out race-based genocide against Africans
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola (or any virus or bacteria)
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
W.H.O. contradicts CDC, admits Ebola can spread via coughing, sneezing and by touching contaminated surfaces
Top ten things you need to do NOW to protect yourself from an uncontrolled Ebola outbreak
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
FDA targets Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps for sharing health benefits of coconut oil
U2's Bono partners with Monsanto to destroy African agriculture with GMOs
Why flu shots are the greatest medical fraud in history
Governments seize colloidal silver being used to treat Ebola patients, says advocate
Flu vaccine kills 13 in Italy; death toll rises

(NaturalNews) Recent news about the U.S.-Israeli-developed Flame virus said the malware was used in an attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure, but as more is learned about this cyberweapon, the more it - and the viruses sure to be developed in its wake - should be feared.

Researchers from antivirus firm Symantec, which developed and manufactures the venerable Norton antivirus software, said in a post on the company's Web site recently that the virus, which it called "Flamer," is similar in nature to the Stuxnet and Duqu viruses, "arguably the two most complex pieces of malware we have analyzed to date."

According to the firm, "Flamer is a highly sophisticated threat, using multiple components that cleverly conceals its malicious functionality. ...The modular nature of this malware suggests that a group of developers have created it with the goal of maintaining the threat over a long period of time; very likely along with a different set of individuals using the malware."

Able to disrupt or disable entire infrastructure networks

Earlier reports said the Flame and Stuxnet viruses were introduced into Iran's nuclear and oil infrastructure. The former was introduced to monitor computer use, while the latter was designed to cause disruptions at Iran's plutonium enrichment facilities.

But Flame - or Flamer, as Symantec's software engineers are calling it - is capable of much more, apparently. Originally designed to steal data from keystrokes, audio conversations and screenshots, it also "gives its operators the power to delete important files from compromised computer systems," said tech newswire CNET.com.

Symantec researcher, Vikram Thakur, said in an interview with Reuters that Flame is not just able to monitor computer systems but can also double as a cyberweapon.

"These guys have the capability to delete everything on the computer," Thakur said. "This is not something that is theoretical. It is absolutely there," he said.

With the ability to delete files, that means Flame can cause critical programs to fail or shut down operating systems.

That's an important distinction because if the virus merely monitors the computer systems of rivals and enemies, that's one thing. But if it is used to "attack" those same systems or another nation's infrastructure, that is something else entirely. Warfare, in this day and age, is still warfare, even if it's fought in an unconventional, asymmetrical kind of way. What's more, such attacks on another nation's computer infrastructure will no doubt invite attacks on U.S. infrastructure - dams, chemical plants, manufacturing facilities, air traffic control and water purification systems, and the list goes on.

More than just a 'virus,' it's a weapon

"Of course it can be used for sabotage," Boldizsar Bencsath, an expert on cyber warfare with Hungary's Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security, said, adding he believes there was at least a 70 percent chance Flame was used to attack Iran in April of this year. "It may have been used to attack critical infrastructure and it may be used in the future."

What the next generation of viruses will look like is anyone's guess. Flame, Reuters reported, was deployed more than five years ago. Then, as now, it is one of the most sophisticated viruses ever developed. It's existence was initially uncovered by the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, after the security firm was tasked by the United Nations to look for a virus Iran said had sabotaged computers and deleted valuable information.

What is clear is that cyber-security experts are impressed - and nervous - about Flame's capabilities.

"It could render computing devices useless," Sean McGurk, a former Department of Homeland Security official who helped protect U.S. infrastructure from cyber-attack and who now works in the private sector, told Reuters. That's a threat because computers control virtually everything related to first-world, modern life.

"Cyber elements can have catastrophic impacts," he added.







Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.