May 31, 2012

The Flame Virus

 Why a UN Agency has issued a warning about this computer virus.

Jessica: A new cyberweapon is attacking countries in the Middle East. It is a colosal computer virus called Flame.

“Flame can get any information it wants really from logging keystrokes to taking screen shots of your machine. It can enable the microphone and listen to conversations.”

Jessica: Kaspersky Labs, a cyber security firm, discovered the flame virus, which can infect a computer and turn it into a spy that steals any information it encounters. The virus was discovered just a couple of weeks ago. But it has been secretly worming its way through hundreds of computers in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East for years.

“We have confirmed reports dating back to 2010 of Flame and then we have some indirect evidence which points back to the end of 2007.”

Jessica: Flame is the third major cyberweapon discovered in the past two years.

In 2010, a computer virus called Stuxnet attacked Iranian computers and messed with equipment Iran might use to make nuclear weapons. Now this new virus also seems to be targeting Iran. And it is packing a much bigger punch.

“Flame is twenty times the size of Stuxnet which again shows the kind of manpower and man hours that has been put into this project.”

Jessica: Some suspect both Flame and Stuxnet were created by the U.S. and Israel to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

“It has all the likelihood that, basically, two different teams — one team responsible for the Stuxnet virus and one team responsible for Flame — had access to some technologies that were unknown to the rest of the world.”

Jessica: If the U.S. was involved, Flame would likely be the work of the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications. Depending on the computers infected, Flame may have provided the U.S. with insider information on the workings of the Iranian government and its nuclear program. And researchers say Flame has the potential to conduct sabotage as well as espionage. That means first it steals the information, and then it destroys it.

Shelby, back to you.


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