Flame: The new dimension of Cyber espionage?

A nation-state is most likely to blame for unleashing "Flame" on the World Wide Web. Iran appears to be the primary target of the data-snatching virus that has swept through the Middle East, though other countries have also been affected. The sheer complexity of the virus and its targets made the security researchers believe that it seems, a state is behind the attack.

Kaspersky first spotted the virus in 2010, though it may have been wrecking havoc on computer systems for many years. Kaspersky Lab was initially searching for a different form of malware. Kaspersky has earlier reported about the "Stuxnet". Malware researchers of Kaspersky Labs were aware of the malware that had spread throughout the Middle East, attacked hundreds of computers and wiped their hard drives, making the systems unbootable after that. 

It was actually after an inquiry from the International Telecommunications Union, which is a part of the United Nations, who actually requested the Kaspersky Lab to start conducting research. Flame is on the same level as the notoriously known Stuxnet and Duqu, hence Kaspersky Labs suspect that there is a nation state behind the development of this cyber attack, and there are reasons for that. 

There are traditional cyber criminals who are hunting users’ data (like log-ins and passwords) to access bank accounts over the Internet and steal money, send spam, or conduct dubious attacks. Flame doesn’t fit into the group of traditional cyber criminal malware. Also, it doesn’t fit into the activists’ malware who are using typically free and open source tools to attack computers on the Internet. And the third known group at this time is nation-states. 

Flame is undoubtedly pretty advanced – one of the most sophisticated examples of malware ever seen. File size over 20 megabytes, when sum up all the sizes of the modules that are part of the attacking toolkit. It’s very big compared to Stuxnet, which was just hundreds of kilobytes of code: it’s over 20 megabyes. It’s also quite unique in the way it steals information. It’s possible to steal different types of information with the help of this spyware tool. It can record audio if a microphone is attached to the infected system, it can do screen captures and transmit visual data. It can steal information from the input boxes when they are hidden behind asterisks, password fields; it can get information from there.Also it can scan for locally visible Bluetooth devices if there is a Bluetooth adapter attached to the local system. Flame is an universal attacking tool kit used mostly for cyber espionage

Stuxnet and Duqu were bright examples of cyber weapons which could even physically destroy infrastructure, and Flame is a continuation of this story. So this is another development in this roe which continues in addition to Stuxnet and Duqu.There are also nation stations supporting these developments. 

Cyber warfare has been going on for years already. People were just probably not aware of it because cyber warfare has a unique feature: it’s hidden. Nobody knows when cyber warfare operations are going on. 

Recently an in depth study has been conducted by Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security at Hungary's University of Technology and Economics. Find the document here

Mr. Alexander Gostev from Kaspersky Labs has given a brief overview about Flame which can be found here

Honestly humanity is losing, because we are fighting between each other instead of fighting against global problems which everyone faces in their lives.