Newly Discovered 'Flame' Cyberespionage Tool Infects Iran, Middle East

Malware, described as the most complex ever discovered, has the markings of Western intelligence agencies and has been around since at least 2010
Step aside, Stuxnet: Newly discovered espionage and information-gathering malware known Flame, Flamer, Skywiper (sKyWIper), and Wiper appears to be even more sophisticated than the Stuxnet virus discovered in 2010, and to have long infected PCs in numerous countries including Egypt, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Syria.

Iran's National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Monday confirmed that Iranian PCs had been targeted and infected by Flame, and said that it had created and distributed a detection and removal tool to "selected organizations and companies" earlier this month. According to the Iran CERT analysis, the malware can spread via networks and removable drives, and receives instructions from at least 10 command-and-control servers, communicating via SSH and HTTPS protocols. The malware can infect Windows XP, Vista, and 7, systems, and includes the ability to scan systems and networks, extract passwords, record audio, and capture event-triggered screen grabs.

Analysis of the malware is still ongoing, but researchers have found evidence that Flame infections date to at least 2010, and potentially as far back as 2007. Until this month, however, the malware also seemed to have evaded all commercial antivirus systems. "At the time of writing, none of the 43 tested antiviruses [sic] could detect any of the malicious components," according to the Iranian CERT analysis published Monday.

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