New version of Flame virus uncovered: researchers

Oct 15, 2012
A new cyberespionage tool linked to the Flame virus has been infecting computers in Lebanon, Iran and elsewhere, security researchers said.

A new cyberespionage tool linked to the Flame virus has been infecting computers in Lebanon, Iran and elsewhere, security researchers said Monday.

, which was credited with revealing the Flame virus earlier this year, dubbed the new malware "miniFlame," and said it was "a small and highly flexible designed to steal data and control infected systems during targeted cyber espionage operations."

Russian-based Kaspersky said miniFlame "is based on the same architectural platform as Flame," widely reported to be part of a US-Israeli effort to slow Iran's suspected nuclear weapons drive.

The smaller version "can function as its own independent cyber espionage program or as a component" inside Flame and related malware.

Unlike Flame, which is designed for "massive spy operations," miniFlame is "a high precision, surgical attack tool," according to Alexander Gostev at Kaspersky Lab.

"Most likely it is a targeted cyberweapon used in what can be defined as the second wave of a ."

Kaspersky Lab data indicates the total number of infections worldwide is just 50 to 60, including computers in Lebanon, France, the United States, Iran and Lithuania.

MiniFlame operates "as a backdoor designed for data theft and direct access to infected systems," according to Kaspersky, which said development of the malware might have started as early as 2007 and continued until the end of 2011, with several variations.

"We believe that the developers of miniFlame created dozens of different modifications of the program," Kaspersky said. "At this time, we have only found six of these, dated 2010-2011."

Flame previously has been linked to Stuxnet, which attacked made by German industrial giant Siemens used to manage water supplies, oil rigs, power plants and other .

Most Stuxnet infections have been discovered in Iran, giving rise to speculation it was intended to sabotage nuclear facilities there. The worm was crafted to recognize the system it was to attack.

Some reports say US and Israeli intelligence services collaborated to develop the computer worm to sabotage Iran's efforts to make a nuclear bomb.

Explore further: Google offers peek into Bhutan with Street View launch

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Flame cyber virus linked to more malware: report

Sep 17, 2012

The Flame virus believed to be part of a cyberwarfare effort against Iran was developed as early as 2006 and is linked to at least three other malware programs, a new analysis said Monday.

Flame virus linked to Stuxnet: researchers (Update 2)

Jun 11, 2012

The Flame computer virus which has been raging in the Middle East has strong links to Stuxnet, a malware program widely believed to have been developed by the United States or Israel, a security firm said Monday.

Malware hunter Kaspersky warns of cyber war dangers

Jun 06, 2012

The Russian malware hunter whose firm discovered the Flame virus said Wednesday there could be plenty more malicious code out there, and warned he feared a disastrous cyber attack could be coming.

Iran says Duqu malware under 'control'

Nov 13, 2011

Iran said on Sunday it had found a way to "control" the computer malware Duqu, which is similar to Stuxnet virus which in 2010 attacked its nuclear programme and infected more than 30,000 computers.

Recommended for you

Google offers peek into Bhutan with Street View launch

3 minutes ago

Google provided a sneak peek into Bhutan Thursday by unveiling a Street View project for the remote Himalayan kingdom, featuring panoramic views of its majestic mountains, monasteries and crystal-clear rivers.

Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

13 hours ago

Twitter on Wednesday set out to weave itself into mobile applications with a free "Fabric" platform to help developers build better programs and make more money.

Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

15 hours ago

Google is introducing an application designed to make it easier for its Gmail users to find and manage important information that can often become buried in their inboxes.

Fighting cyber-crime one app at a time

20 hours ago

This summer Victoria University of Wellington will be home to four Singaporean students researching cyber threats. The students have been working with Dr Ian Welch, a lecturer in Victoria's School of Engineering and Computer ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

88HUX88
not rated yet Oct 16, 2012
did it affect the reactors in Fukushima?