Report by JENIFERLAMUG
A Russian security firm recently discovered new threat of massive cyber-attack called “Flame Malware” that collets private data on machines in some Middle East countries. Researchers told BBC news that it is "one of the most complex threats ever discovered" and has been operating since 2010.
The Kaspersky Labs in Russia reported that this new threat, which is believed to be a state-sponsored attack, appears to steal huge amounts of sensitive information such as systems, stored files, audio conversations and computer display contents but not to cause any physical damage. From an unknown origin, Flame is said to be in its active phase and it has a code itself of 20MB in size. Researchers have said that the malware discovery has exceeded those previous cyber menaces in terms of complexity and functionality.
Since the attack was carried out, Kaspersky's chief malware expert Vitaly Kamluk told reporters that there are more than 600 specific targets being hit and that include individuals, businesses, academic institutions and government systems. And now the Flame’s largest concentration of its target is in Iran. Other countries affected are Israel/Palestine region, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
A similar report from ZDNet.com suggests that the Flame virus is 20 times larger than the Stuxnet virus that has targeted nuclear infrastructure in Iran.
Some of the known viruses that previously investigated by Kaspersky Lab include the Wiper that allegedly responsible for deleting data on western Asian machines and the Duqu, which was designed to steal data.
Professor Alan Woodward from the Department of Computing, University of Surrey in his blog analysis said "This is basically an industrial vacuum cleaner for sensitive information."
A statement from Kaspersky Lab said it could take them several years to analyze the origin of the threat.