Stuxnet 2.0? New computer virus hits Iran in unprecedented cyberattack

Web security firm Kaspersky Lab announced on Monday that it had uncovered a ‘cyber-espionage worm’ created to gather and delete delicate data, mainly in Middle Eastern countries.

Kaspersky referred to as the malware, named “Flame,” the “most sophisticated cyber-weapon but unleashed.” It said the bug had infected personal computers in Iran, the West Bank, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The firm also said that Flame contained a specific component that was utilised in the Stuxnet worm and which had not been noticed in any other malware since.

On its blog site, Kaspersky called Flame a “sophisticated assault toolkit,” including that it was significantly much more complicated than Duqu, the vehicle used to deliver Stuxnet.

The Stuxnet bug, discovered in June 2010, targeted primarily Iranian personal computers. Iran admitted that the worm broken centrifuges operating at an uranium enrichment facility at Nantaz.

Kaspersky’s chief malware expert Vitaly Kamluk told the BBC that more than 600 precise targets had been hit by Flame, like computers owned by individuals, companies, academic institutions and government systems.

Kamluk mentioned he believed the malware had been operating at least since August 2010, and almost certainly earlier, including that there was “no doubt” that it was produced by a state actor.

Symantec, another Web security firm, mentioned on its blog site that the bug’s code was on par with that of Stuxnet and Duqu, which it described as “arguably the two most complicated pieces of malware we have analyzed to date.”

It also stated that certain file names in Flame have been identical to these described in a hacking incident in April involving the Iranian oil ministry.

According to the firm, the worm had been operating discreetly for at least two years and was most likely written by “an organized, well-funded group of individuals functioning to a clear set of directives.”

Symantec mentioned the virus had also been found in computer systems in Hungary, Austria, Russia, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.

Sources and more information:

• New computer virus hits Iran, West Bank in unprecedented cyberattack

A map of countries affected by Flame bug. Photo by Kaspersky Lab related articles By The Associated Press May.28,2012 6:26 PM By Reuters May.28,2012 6:26 PM Internet security company Kaspersky Lab announced on Monday that it had uncovered a ‘cyber-espionage worm’ designed to collect and delete sensitive information, primarily in Middle…

• Massive Targeted CyberAttack- mostly striking Iran- Flame

The malware — dubbed Flame — has been operation since 2010 and appears to be a state sponsored, Kaspersky Labs said today, but it was not sure of its origins. Flame is designed to steal information about targeted systems and stored files as well as computer display contents and audio conversations.