Flame virus created by U.S. and Israel sources say, Iran is target

By on June 20, 2012, 4:00 PM

The Washington Post reports that Flame, an extremely sophisticated virus which was first discovered in Iranian oil refineries, is the brainchild of U.S. and Israeli efforts to slow Iran's nuclear program. This information comes from several Western officials who purportedly have knowledge of the project, but wish to remain anonymous.

Despite the report's veiled sources, Flame's U.S. origins aren't necessarily a surprise. Earlier this month, the New York Times shed light upon Operation: Olympic Games, a U.S. project which utilized other sophisticated viruses known as Duqu and Stuxnet. These virus targeted Iranian SCADA systems, allowing their creators to access, gather intelligence and even control certain aspects of Iran's nuclear and oil refining facilities. 

Security researchers recently discovered Stuxnet code within Flame -- an unofficial confirmation that the creators of Stuxnet (i.e. U.S. government) were also behind the virus. After this discovery was made, the virus began to self-destruct, hastily removing itself from infected computers as though it were taking cues from a spy novel.

Flame wowed security researchers with its incredible sophistication. The 20MB virus carried a payload which could be transmitted through spoofing Windows Updates, allowing it to infect even non-compromised computers on the same network. The creators used what is believed to be an unknown MD5 collision attack to forge Microsoft's digital signature on a fraudulent certificate, an achievement which was described by security researchers as the holy grail of malware writers.

Flame also has modules which could utilize microphones and web cameras, log keystrokes, collect screen shots and allow it to propagate via removable media (i.e. USB thumb drives), allowing it to be introduced into sensitive networks isolated from the public. It would even use Bluetooth to send commands to other computers, providing a bevy of vectors for infecting, monitoring and controlling nearby workstations.




User Comments: 29

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

Wow, sound like something out of an James Bond movie ! No wonder it was picked up, all the connections and uploads downloads....there had to be some logs somewhere...

Nowadays with computers who needs James Bond, goverments just hack in and RDP! lol

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

The US is a full blown tyranny against the world. When you require restriction of privacy and freedom to maintain your government, it's time to replace it. And the two-party dictatorship will never free us. We are the terrorists. 30,000 drones in the sky over the US should tell you who the enemy is.. us.

Guest said:

I can't believe that they would attempt to stop Iran from producing Nuclear weapons that they would assuredly use 1st against Israel and 2nd against the USA.. .just can't believe it... .

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Really? the crap going on in that part of the world that's being supported by Iran and this is the big news story out of there?? holy crap what a bunch of myopic individuals involved in breaking this story. As a former soldier I am all for anything that could stop a siltation that would otherwise take soldiers to accomplish. Oh and 'spider' your a ****-wallet.STFU, as bad as it is in the USA, it's far better then what most people deal with in the mid-east.

Guest said:

I agree with Spyder.

Guest said:

The worst day in the US is better than the best day in a foreign nation. People in poverty in the US live a higher quality of life than people in poverty in other countries.

Guest said:

@Ranger1st,

"myopic individuals" ...nice. I truly mean that..no sarcasm intended. I for one want to thank you for your service and all you do and have done for this country. Point well stated. Thank you soldier :)

Guest said:

I agree with the spyder, couldn't have said it better. The reason for all this trouble around the world today is the US and Israels behavior past and present. and the means they are taking to rectify them are only making the problem worse.

Guest said:

The real issue is fear, people fear because they do not know. Because they don't know they try to control. This just induces more fear and the back and forth cycles of our way vs their way continues throughout time. The only solution is Love, Love of others, of self, of all. So simple but yet to requires commitment and letting go of fear, which many are not ready to do, so they will continue and play the game. Peace must come from the individual then to society and then to all.

MilwaukeeMike said:

The US is a full blown tyranny against the world. When you require restriction of privacy and freedom to maintain your government, it's time to replace it. And the two-party dictatorship will never free us. We are the terrorists. 30,000 drones in the sky over the US should tell you who the enemy is.. us.

This comment is so off-the-wall crazy it's hard to believe it's not a troll. A computer virus is probably the most peaceful, easiest, and safest way to stop a dictatorship from building a weapon they've already promised to use on Israel. Last time we invaded Iraq, was that a better strategy?

Thanks for your service, Ranger.

We know what you'd prefer. Nothing. Stick you fingers in your ears and yell about how the country that provides the freedom for you to spread your nonsense is the oppressor.

Guest said:

It's humorous to see people agree with "Spyder", first off...30,000 drones in the US sky? That alone should show your lack of intelligence on the matter. And a tyranny against the world? We also save more lives than any country in the world with both physically support and technological advances. We'll never be "free" because people take advantage of any freedom we get, then abuse it. For instance, our police are deemed "bullies" yet do you see out of control riots anywhere? Nope. Are sports games mobbed and taken over by the fans? Nope.

Maybe, good sir, you should have some cheese with your whine.

Guest said:

thought criminal

Guest said:

a virus to stop iranian nuclear program? how? by triggering a cascade reaction on the core and blowing it up? by shutdown it down so they cant use it?...

well if you think about it... only by blowing it up causing a nuclear explosion will solve their problems... because everything else is posponing the inevitable..

Guest said:

the propaganda appears to be working

Tygerstrike said:

@Spider

OMMFG!! Your stupidity astounds me. You sit there and post your drivel ONLINE! Are you sitting there in your mommies basement in your underware? I cant believe there are still mouth breathers like you still around, figuring that natural selection and your own innate inability to do anything but eat cheesy poofs and mountain dew, would have killed you off by now. Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you SPIDER!!! Future wack job that will begging change off you while wearing his tin foil hat!

Ranger youre right. ANY action that doesnt put ppls lives in danger, especially our soilders, is an act that should be supported. So a virus slows down and possibly stops a country from possibly creating WMD. GREAT!!! No one gets hurt, no foreign aid needs to be sent. No Americans needed to die. Sounds like a win/win for the world there.

Spider get your head out of the sand......or is it still firmly up your rump?

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

as technology changes, warfare changes

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

The middle east was a far better place before we stomped our boot on it. After 9/11, if you remember, Osama Bin Laden said their plan was to entangle the US in endless wars, restrict our freedoms, and bankrupt us. Now we're in endless wars, the middle east hates us more than ever, we're about to be bankrupt, and yet you want to give up your freedoms? What exactly are we even supposed to be fighting for? Who is the enemy? What flag do they fly? I do business with people from Iran, and they're nice people. They want to make a nuke? Nope. But if they did, then so what? Israel would (and probably will anyway) wipe them off the map. It'd be suicide. Pakistan has hundred of nukes and you're not scared of them? I think what we have here is a bunch of scared little girls who wet themselves when they see someone different. Turn off the TV news. 30,000 armed drones coming to the US. Google it.

Guest said:

These tools are so eff'n blind, Spyder! They are all SHEEP!

Guest said:

Drones for the drones!

Guest said:

Dear Spyder,

I'm sure your Iranian friends at the 7/11 aren't planning to build a nuke. Also, the Pakistani's don't have hundreds, only about one hundred, and god knows how many are actually active. Furthermore, these Pakistani nukes probably wouldn't fly far or accurate enough to leave their immediate neighbors. You might not like the things that the US govt. does, but I for one don't care. There's a reason why habib and his slurpee friends will never take us down, we're number one at everything that matters. Money, power, and politics. Oh, and if you want to see a real nuke you can google this ****.

Guest said:

A few obvious points...

Working with nice people from Iran who don't want to make a nuke has nothing to do with whether Iran wants to. The people of Iran likely don't want a big war with the US and Israel either, and might see possessing nuclear arms as a key piece of that objective. All the same, no one I know or have read thinks anything but good about the *people* of Iran. Who live under a radical, religious and brutal regime based on some seriously kooky notions of freedom. If you are going to freak about loss of freedom in the US...why act like things would be great around the world if only America would leave them alone. Do you think freedom would increase or decrease under dictatorships and monarchies in the Middle East?

Israel is a tiny country which could be messed up badly by minimal nuclear attack while Iran is waaaaaaaay harder to clean from the map even with nukes. Israel blows up reactors and writes viruses BECAUSE the last thing they want is a nuclear arms race much less a situation where nukes are actually used. And the reason THEY have nukes? Oh, maybe all the talk about wiping them off the map and experience with invasion, suicide bombers and rocket attacks caused them to pursue the course. And slowing down Iran's ability to provoke the standoff you imagine seems to be a lot more peaceful than leaving it to a country you find to be horrible at doing 'good' to counter it militarily. Why would you want those nice people you do business with threatened by such a future?

And not the final refuting point but pretty plainly silly on your part is the strawman that no one is afraid of Pakistan. They(we) are. The west and Pakistan have a tenuous peace but no one thinks they're our buddy past where they find us to be useful to their own ends. I don't suppose you think those drone attacks would be happening there without the government of Pakistan allowing them. Nevertheless If you find Pakistan to be a malevolent power to be holding nukes you must surely see that once a country HAS nukes they are much more immune to anyone who might try to constrain their ability to threaten their neighbors than when they are developing them. Buying your premise, wouldn't you have sought to delay Pakistan in their bid to become a nuclear wielding nation?

And you're probably correct about drones being in use(30,000 is silly)in the US since they are cheap and don't cost human lives when they are lost. That's hardly the first threat to privacy in the US nor would I expect that trend to abate if foreign policy suddenly became all the things you think it should be.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

There's a reason why habib and his slurpee friends will never take us down, we're number one at everything that matters. Money, power, and politics.

That's the exact same attitude the Germans had. And it lead to 60 million deaths. They were socialists, too. Just like Obamney.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

A few obvious points...

If you are going to freak about loss of freedom in the US...why act like things would be great around the world if only America would leave them alone.

It's called "blowback". It's a term coined by our CIA.

Guest said:

God bless our troops all over the world in defense of the United States of America and ALL she stands for. Those brave men and women...those HEROES...who put it all on the line..who put AMERICA and her people in front of their OWN FAMILIES...of their OWN BELIEFS...and will lay down their lives for their Sworn Duty and are the most honorable folks we'll ever have the privilege to know.

Anything that keeps even ONE soldier out of harms way has an imperative that it be implemented...a virus....a computer virus...that can save MILLIONS of people and even ONE soldier is simply put...a no brainer...PERIOD.

Until you stare down the WRONG end of a Rifle Barrel, or repaired an aircraft awash with the blood of our soldiers...or the Mobile Operating room floor full of guts, blood and human limbs from the soldiers who were just blown to bits....You haven't earned the right to question their honor or dignity!

For those who don't like what happens here in the U.S. and our nations policies...then get the hoot out of here...NOBODY is making you stay.

The great thing about our constitution and way of life here in this United States of America... is the fact that change without violence IS possible here in this nation...we do it every 2 years and again every 4 years.

The population has the FINAL say as to who gets elected to represent "We The People" so the choice IS ours.

The constitution also allows us to make mistakes and THEN Rectify them. Power is limited both in duration and effectiveness to prevent just what MOST of the rest of the world has endured over a millenia and is still ongoing. Dictatorships, Despots, and Evil Crooked Mass Murderers.

Censorship...exists in many forms..but as seen here...OUR FREEDOM IS INTACT.

WHO DO WE THANK? OUR MILITARY and the vision of our founding fathers and our CONSTITUTION. The brave men and women who SERVE US..the United States of America.

So we are formally inviting those of you who want to complain so loudly and so long...if you really do have a problem and can't stand the United States of America...LEAVE AND LEAVE NOW...otherwise...like the rest of us...choose the Man OR Woman who best represents what you believe in or what you believe is right for your family and VOTE.

If you Lose...wait 2-4 years and try again...get off the backs of those who provide the very freedoms you are enjoying right here, right now until and unless YOU walk an ETERNITY in their boots...meh..forget that...you've got neither the honor or decency to perform the least of the tasks our Military women and men do each and every day of the year...year in and year out.

I can't stand mighty with the mouth but wimpy with the Can DO!

Guest said:

I agree....that spider dude is a total D-bag.....and just exactly pray tell what other country would he find to be superior to this one in any way....shape or form? Without firing a single shot the US and Israel have hemmed up the Iranian Nuclear program for years now.....and I for one am starting to laugh at those file videos of hooded Iranian workers pouring those containers of molten what ever it is....while Ahmadinejad looks on like a crazed stooge.....they look more like a group of dudes making cheap pewter Ayatollah statues than anyone seriously dabbling in nuclear weaponry creation. The last time I checked you don't pour molten enriched uranium out of little ladles and then sit around and watch it cool.

wiyosaya said:

It would not at all surprise me, being a US citizen, if some US agent helped to create "Flame".

Guest said:

Which means the world is getting worse!!!

Camikazi said:

Which means the world is getting worse!!!

Dunno why you thought it would get better, according to almost every Sci-Fi movie or show the world must see the horror of a nuclear war before any kind of utopia or ideal society will come to be. It seems we are destined to have to hit rock bottom before we can work towards a more perfect world.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.