UN to Warn World About Flame Virus Risks (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 05/29/12)
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A United Nations agency that aids member nations in securing their
national infrastructures is set to warn member nations about the risk
posed by the ´Flame´ virus.
Flame is a computer virus that Tehran says is infecting its computers
and which independent experts say "most dangerous cyberwarfare tool
One technology reporter for the Herald Sun – who estimated Flame was
20 times more powerful than any virus seen before – facetiously joked
the virus could "bring the world to its knees."
"This is the most serious (cyber) warning we have ever put out,"
Marco Obiso, cyber security coordinator for the UN´s Geneva-based
International Telecommunications Union, said.
"They should be on alert," he added.
Analysts say evidence suggests Flame may have been built on behalf of
the same nation - or nations - that commissioned the Stuxnet worm
that attacked Iran´s nuclear program in 2010,.
"I think it is a much more serious threat than Stuxnet," Obiso said.
He said the ITU will set up a program to collect data - including
virus samples - to track Flame´s spread around the globe and observe
any changes in its composition.
At present, Flame is known to have struck at least 600 specific
computer systems in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia
and the Palestinian Authority.
Flame does with one virus what hackers have previously had to deploy
many separate viruses to do. That means it can deliver a more
comprehensive picture than ever before of what a computer is being
Boldizsar Bencsath, a computer expert at Budapest University´s
Laboratory of Cryptography and Systems Security that has been
analyzing flame, told Radio Free Europe that Flame has now been
spotted in Hungary.
According to him, "the individual things Flame does are not unique or
unknown." What sets Flame apart is that it puts all those
functions "in a single, enormously large software package."
"Generally speaking, [Flame´s] functionality is similar to other
malware components that for example, record keyboard activities," he
says. "The unusual thing is that it is complex, highly complex. That
means that there are lots of different functionality modules in the
code and therefore the code is enormously large."
The Russian computer security Kaspersky Lab told AFP the Flame
software package totals almost 20 Mb in size when fully deployed.
"This is a targeted attack, says Bencsath. "This tool is used for
targeted attacks; that means that normal home computers most likely
are not at any risk."
His remarks echoed those of Greg Hughes, CEO of Israel´s Symantec,
who told Arutz Sheva that the Flame virus found in Iran is the cyber-
warfare equivalent of a “targeted killing.”
"This is a specifically targeted and highly precise attack. This
attack is like a precision targeted killing rather than mass
slaughter," he added, noting that the file – or a collection of
files – would have to be directly inserted into vulnerable computers.
Flame has been described as a "data-stealing virus" and "cyber-
espionage worm" designed to collect and delete sensitive information.
It is capable of taking screen captures, downloading process logs,
recording keystrokes, and copying files stored on hard drives.
Iran – which has openly accused Israel of deploying Flame – claimed
they had neutralized Flame and that its creators had not been
However, Iranian officials claimed to have killed the less powerful
Stuxnet virus several times before finally eradicating it almost two
years after it was found.
Symantec’s Hughes noted, "You have to look at this with a perspective
of time," he added. "They recently discovered a number of attacks,
but this began two years ago."
Israeli officials have refused to say whether Jerusalem fathered
Flame, but Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon did
say, "Whoever sees the Iranian threat as a meaningful threat – it is
reasonable he would take various measures, including this one."
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 05/29/12)
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