Just after Kasperky discovered the complex cyber threat Flame, Iran has confirmed that Flame has attacked computers of important officials inflicting massive data loss.
The confirmation came as the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre, the UN agency which regulates the internet, posted a warning message on its website stating that the virus is potentially more harmful than the Stuxnet which attacked Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The agency placed the virus as the most powerful espionage tool ever to target member states. The malicious software is said to be 20 times more powerful than other known cyber warfare programmes, that could only have been made by a state.
Kamran Napelian, an Iranian cyber defence official, said that the virus has a special pattern which makes it seem as if it has originated from Israel. “The virus copies what you enter on your keyboard, it monitors what you see on your computer screen” , he said.
Napelian also disclosed that Flame had been active for at least six months now and had caused a “massive” data loss. He added that Iran has developed software to combat Flame.
Orla Cox, a security analyst at the security firm Symantec, said that Flame was targeting specific individuals, mostly Iran-related. “The way it has been developed is unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’s huge. It’s like using an atomic weapon to crack a nut” , she said sounding flabbergasted.
Meanwhile, Marco Obiso, cyber security coordinator for the UN’s Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union yesterday said that UN has issued a formal warning that tells member nations that the Flame virus is a dangerous espionage tool that could potentially be used to attack critical infrastructure.