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The Flame Virus

The Flame Virus

29.5.2012

Iranian security experts have discovered a new virus far more dangerous than the Stuxnet worm of 2010 that has struck the country’s computer systems. The new virus is named the “Flame”. This new virus has struck not only Iran, but a number of other enemies of Israel as well. The Kaspersky Internet security firm is calling the “Flame” data-stealing virus the “most sophisticated cyber-weapon yet unleashed” and hinted it may have been created by the makers of the Stuxnet worm. Kaspersky called the virus a “cyber-espionage worm” designed to collect and delete sensitive information, primarily in Middle Eastern countries.

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The “Flame” has struck at least 600 specific computer systems in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority, Kaspersky malware expert Vitaly Kamluk told the BBC. He added that the virus has probably been operating discreetly for at least two years.

“This virus is stronger than its predecessor,” he said. “It is one that could only have been created by a state or other large entity.” Iran appeared to be the principal target of the new computer worm, described by Alexander Gostev, Kaspersky’s head of research, as so big and sophisticated that it redefined the notion of cyber-war and cyberespionage.

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The “Stuxnet” virus successfully disabled the computers that operated Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in 2010. More than 16,000 of the Natanz facility’s centrifuges were destroyed as a result of the “Stuxnet” attack.

“The country that brought us Iranian nuclear assassinations, explosions at Iran missile bases, and Stuxnet, is at it again,” wrote Richard Silverstein on Israel’s liberal Tikun Olam Web site under the headline: “Israel’s new contribution to Middle East cyberwar.”

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