News24

Flame built by government - Kaspersky

2012-07-05 08:25

Moscow - While the identity of the Flame virus authors remains elusive, a security company is convinced that the evidence points to a sophisticated government operation.

"Who built Flame? It's some government; I don't know which exactly because we don't have any real hard proof, but it's not the usual cybercriminals," Alex Gostev, chief security expert at Kaspersky Lab told News24.

He said that though Flame made headlines, it was not the first super virus and it is likely that the developers are already working on a more advanced version.

"The guys behind Flame spent at least four years [to build it]. It's not only one - there are different variants: The first one we found in 2008 and the last one was from 2011."

Flame's design was different to the usual malware in that it specifically targeted users in the Middle East and Iranian Oil Ministry computers in particular.

Resources

Gostev said that the skills and network to develop and distribute the virus was extensive and an indicator of the financial resources of its backers.

"It's not only a question of how many people, but how much money they spent to invest. They used really unique crypto algorithm that never before has been used in malware.

"It's a targeted attack of course and I don't know how many targets there are. We found about 500 victims, but I know that in reality it's much higher."

Kaspersky Lab linked the Flame virus to an earlier Stuxnet worm that was identified in 2010, and Gostev said that because there were observable patterns with an earlier worm called Duqu, one could deduce that the same organisation built the malware.

"I think Duqu was created by the same people who created Flame and Stuxnet. When we looked at the information from the common servers, we found some peaks during hours - the same time zone as Moscow, for example," said Gostev.

The US has said that it expects that the next major war will be fought in cyberspace and has spent significant resources to beef up cyber defence capability.

Gostev agreed that cyber war designed to cripple electricity and water infrastructure will most likely be a precursor to an armed conflict.

"A cyber war should be a part of a real war - real military conflict - it's perhaps a zero stage before sending in the troops and bombers.

"Right now it's some kind of intelligence operations - some kind of cold war. In the future it can be more dangerous. Right now we have Stuxnet which destroy something in the real world. From the virtual world, we can destroy real objects."


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Malware has evolved to match consumer patterns. In this YouTube video, Vitaly Kamluk, chief malware expert at Kaspersky lab explains the process:



Comments
  • E=MC2 - 2012-07-05 09:03

    Die Hard 4 anyone? :)

      Zip - 2012-07-05 11:13

      a child built the Flame virus on his Gameboy, i suspect.

  • fussed.anderson - 2012-07-05 09:19

    Chuck Norris

  • Gavin - 2012-07-05 09:58

    time to call in anonymous !

  • Ian - 2012-07-05 10:38

    hey, read the report properly, it clearly states they dont have concrete evidence, so sorry for you, but you idiots blame israel for everything thats dosent go your way. But as Alemah said, 'Better than you and your suicide bombers' get hit by a virus, format ur hdd, cant do that with victims of suicide murderers, lets move on, you hit us we hit you back. End Of Story Cheers.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-07-05 10:53

      You assume too much. It is not only Christians and Muslims that disapprove of all the horrible things Israel is doing, non religious people like myself feel the same. And especially in this country, with its history of racism, people are going to speak out against the apartheid system in Israel.

      merven.halo - 2012-07-05 12:37

      The last time i've checked it wasn't Israel targeting women and children. Palestine is run by terrorists just like SA.

      Marco - 2012-07-05 14:20

      hey johan ,ive got an alternative pronunciation for your surname, but youve probably heard it before lots of times

      vitor.mosca - 2012-07-06 08:32

      What I don't understand Ian, is how you can bring Israel in to the conversation when the article makes no mention of her. I don't know Ian, but perhaps the only "Idiot" is you for bringing Israel into the conversation and dragging her through the mud? Just a thought...

  • Eddy - 2012-07-05 12:03

    Ga, 4 years. Chuck Norris decided to play Tetris again.

  • tony.delucchi - 2012-07-05 12:52

    ....it is the Aliens

  • Marco - 2012-07-05 14:17

    do you have to get high to make the ALTIMATE sacrifice?

      Ian - 2012-07-05 14:23

      lol

  • Marco - 2012-07-05 14:17

    sorry ,that was a low down comment

  • craig.a.salter - 2012-07-06 11:45

    i beat you all i say mexico

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