Report: Flame part of US-Israeli cyberattack campaign against Iran
Unnamed Western officials confirmed that Flame was developed by US and Israeli governments, the Washington Post reported
IDG News Service - The highly sophisticated Flame malware was jointly developed by the U.S. and Israeli governments in preparation for a cybersabotage campaign to disrupt Iran's nuclear fuel enrichment efforts, according to a media report.
Citing unnamed Western officials with knowledge of the operation, the Washington Post reported Tuesday that Flame's goal was to collect intelligence about Iran's computer networks that would facilitate future cyberattacks.
On June 1, The New York Times reported that Stuxnet, a sophisticated piece of malware that is believed to have caused the destruction of up to 1,000 gas centrifuges at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility, was created by the U.S. and Israel governments as part of a joint operation code-named Olympic Games.
The Times cited unnamed official sources who said that prior to deploying Stuxnet, cyberespionage software programs known as beacons were secretly inserted into computers made by German hardware manufacturer Siemens and an Iranian company.
The purpose of these beacons was to collect information about how computer from the Natanz facility interoperated with the uranium enrichment centrifuges, and send this data back for analysis.
On June 11, security researchers from Kaspersky Lab, one of the security companies that discovered and analyzed the Flame malware, announced that they found a link between Flame and Stuxnet in the form of shared computer code.
Based on this evidence of collaboration, they theorized that the two threats were created by two development teams funded by the same group of attackers. Flame was probably used for espionage and Stuxnet for sabotage, Roel Schouwenberg, a senior researcher with Kaspersky Lab's global research and analysis team, said at the time.
Flame was discovered back in May, following an investigation into a series of mysterious data loss incidents at Iran's Oil Ministry. Those attacks were carried out in April by the Israeli part of the operation without knowledge from the U.S. side, the Washington Post's sources said.
Security researchers from Kaspersky Lab believe that Flame was created in the first half of 2008. Stuxnet was discovered in June 2010, but the first variant of the malware is believed to date from June 2009.
In September 2011, a separate piece of cyberespionage malware called Duqu was discovered. Duqu's architecture and code are similar to Stuxnet, leading security researchers to believe that the two threats were created on the same development platform.
- Cyberattacks could paralyze U.S., former defense chief warns
- The NSA blame game: Singling out RSA diverts attention from others
- Jury still out on FISA court
- Suspected China-based hackers 'Comment Crew' rises again
- Chinese hackers master the art of lying in wait
- Spy court OK'd all U.S. wiretap requests it received in 2012
- Groups denounce FBI plan to require Internet backdoors for wiretaps
- South Korea cyberattacks hold lessons for U.S.
- U.S. military networks not prepared for cyberthreats, report warns
- Return of CISPA: Cybersecurity boon or privacy threat?
- Radicati: Cloud Business Email - Market Quadrant 2013 Google was named the top cloud business email provider in a recent report by research firm Radicati. Out of 14 key players, Google...
- Tablets in the Enterprise: A Checklist for Successful Deployment How can you enterprise manage and secure tablets in order to protect corporate data while providing access to the information and applications employees...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- Enterprise File Sync & Share Checklist File sync and share has changed the way people work and collaborate in today's tech-savvy world. Gone are the email roadblocks, clunky FTP...
- Live Webcast LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Security White Papers | Webcasts