AAPL Stock: 117.81 ( -0.22 )

Printed from

'Flame' cyber-attack aimed at Middle Eastern countries

updated 03:51 pm EDT, Tue May 29, 2012

Complex data vacuum likely government-backed

Russian security firm Kaspersky has uncovered a massive malware attack, referred to as Flame, that is believed to have gathered sensitive data from a wide array of countries, including Israel and Iran. The malware is said to be modular and expandable in a manner reminiscent of a smartphone app library. The BBC reports that the complexity of the malware has led experts to believe that it could only have been developed with the assistance of a government entity.

Kaspersky researchers were investigating another malware threat, known as Wiper, in conjunction with the UN's International Telecommunication Union. In a scan of affected systems, the researchers ran across the Flame malware, and they now believe that it has been active in since at least August of 2010.

Unlike other malware, Flame doesn't seek to cause physical damage or to steal money from bank accounts. Instead, the program logs just about everything possible on an infected system. Once present, it sniffs network traffic, takes screenshots, records audio conversations, logs keystrokes, and so on. The program's code is about 20MB in size, and researchers expect it will take years to analyze.

Flame was found to be present on more than 600 computers, ranging from individuals to academic institutions and businesses to government systems. Countries affected by the malware included Iran, Israel, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and others. Experts say the specificity of the geographic targeting of the malware, as well as the complexity of its design, lend further credence to the notion that the attack was developed with government assistance.

Kaspersky has yet to release any detailed information on dealing with a Flame infection, though it seems likely that the malware is limited to specific targets, and it may not pose much of a wider threat. In the past, other malware, such as Duqu has infiltrated networks in order to steal data, but none are said to have displayed the level of sophistication seen in the Flame code.

by MacNN Staff



  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More Kaspersky weekly reports BS


Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented