PC monitoring software is like fire that can burn down the computer’s defense mechanism in a matter of minutes. However, each malware has its particular blazing potential, and its own target. “Flame”, a discovery of a Russian cyber security firm Kapersky Lab ,with a befittingly smoldering pseudonym, is touted as the most destructive cyber weapon ever known to mankind – or to any other species for that matter.
Oh and with a 20-megabyte size, Flame is 20 times bigger than Stuxnet or DuQu – the two that previously had the duopoly over the ‘most dangerous malware’ throne.
Middle Eastern Menace
Flame has been detected monitoring computers in Middle East – a region which is no stranger to destructive
weapons. Even so, when it comes to the volatile region one country stands out as the butt of global apprehension – Iran. And surprise surprise! The concentration of Flame infections was found to be the highest in Iran, hence there’s more than a fair chance that Flame is a government creation.
The Global Research and Analysis head at Kapersky, Alexander Gostev, had an interesting tale to tell about Flame’s unraveling. After being asked to monitor an unknown computer monitoring software by the United Nations,which dug out a glut of Flame from the Middle East – originally called “Viper” or “Wiper” – he found that the Iranian Oil Ministry and the Iranian National Oil Company were specifically targeted via Flame.
The Most Sophisticated Cyber Weapon
Gostev was adamant that Flame is more daunting than anything the PC monitoring world had ever seen, and called it the “most sophisticated cyber weapon”. Flame basically is a Trojan, with features like a worm and allow it to self duplicate in a network and also on removable media if it has been instructed accordingly. A Flame operator can monitor PCs by scores of ways; like for instance they can take screenshots, control the keyboard and record audios through the targeted computer’s microphone.
Who lite the matchstick?
While Flame relentlessly burns down computers the origin of the fire is still unknown. The three broad categories of personnel that create spyware are cyber criminals, hacktivists and nation states; and considering Flame’s targeted computers, the latter seems the most likely source. Since Flame’s design does not cater to stealing money from bank accounts and does not even border on anything that the hacktivists
conjure up, governmental origin seems like the only viable answer.
Another Iranian Sanctions Episode?
Since Iran looks like the primary Flame target it looks as if a Western government like the U.S. or Israel seem like the main suspects and the likeliest Flame creators. So while the sanctions on Iranian oil continue to try and squeeze Iran into submission with regards to its nuclear program, the West might be taking that particular game into the realms of technology as well. Both the U.S. and Israel are technologically rich, with the latter being the most technologically advanced country in the Middle East and of course Iran’s biggest foe. And hence either, or bothof them, could be vying to penetrate Iranian computers to monitor invaluable data.
About The Author:
Natalia David, a blogger by profession an author significantly contributes towards computer monitoring software, Cell phone monitoring and keystroke logger. If you want to know more about Natalia you can follow her on twitter @NataliaDavid4
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