Flame: New cyber-attack described as an ‘Industrial Vacuum Cleaner for Sensitive Information’

A complex and targeted cyber-attack has been uncovered by Russian security firm, Kaspersky Labs. The malware (known as Flame) is believed to have been operating since August 2010 and is considered to be a state-sponsored attack.

This new attack is said to have infected over 600 specific targets, collecting huge amounts of sensitive information. The malware itself is 20MB insize, making it 20 times larger than the Stuxnet virus and much more sophisticated.

Kaspersky’s chief malware expert Vitaly Kamluk, said “Once a system is infected, Flame begins a complex set of operations, including sniffing the network traffic, taking screenshots, recording audio conversations, intercepting the keyboard, and so on.”

Iran posted a security alert stating that it believed Flame was responsible for “recent incidents of mass data loss” in the country.

Source: BBC

What makes this news story frightening, is the fact that experts believe it is a state sponsored attack. Professor Alan Woodward from the Department of Computing at the University of Surrey concludes;

“This wasn’t written by some spotty teenager in his/her bedroom. It is large, complicated and dedicated to stealing data whilst remaining hidden for a long time.”

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