Google+

Flame A Virus, A Cyber Weapon!

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab announced on Monday that they had uncovered the “most sophisticated cyber weapon” ever unleashed.

The malware, dubbed Flame, is a highly complex malicious program with vast espionage capabilities that are actively targeting sensitive information across the Middle East.

The sophistication and functionality of the virus exceed those of all other cyber weapons known to date, Kaspersky said.

“Flame can easily be described as one of the most complex threats ever discovered. It’s big and incredibly sophisticated,” wrote Alexander Gostev, Kaspersky Lab’s head of global research and analysis, in a blog post describing the cyber weapon.

“It pretty much redefines the notion of cyberwar and cyberespionage.”

Flame came to the attention of Kaspersky Lab after the UN’s International Telecommunication Union sought the company’s help in finding an unknown piece of malware that was deleting sensitive information across the Middle East.  While searching for that code, nicknamed Wiper, Kaspersky uncovered the new malware, codenamed Worm.Win32.Flame.

The researchers at Kaspersky describe Flame as a sophisticated attack toolkit — a backdoor Trojan with worm-like features that allows the virus to replicate in a local network and on removable media when commanded by its master.

Once deployed, Flame begins “a complex set of operations,” and can sniff network traffic, gather data files, obtain screenshots, record audio conversations, remotely change settings on computers, copy instant messaging chats, intercept a keyboard and much more, Kaspersky said.  This data is then available via Flame’s command-and-control servers.

Operators can also choose to upload further modules that expand Flame’s functionality.

There are about 20 modules in total, Kaspersky said, and the purpose of most of them is still being explored.

Flame differs from other backdoor Trojans by its use of the LUA programming language, which is uncommon in malware.  It is also remarkable for its large size — about 100 times that of most malicious software.  Modern malware is typically small, and written in compact programming languages that make it easy to conceal.  In fact, the practice of concealment through large amounts of code is one of the specific new features in Flame, Kaspersky said.

The completeness of Flame’s audio data recording capabilities, which allow the virus to steal data in many different ways, is also fairly new, Kaspersky said.

Experts said the worm is 20 times more powerful than any other known cyber warfare program — including the Stuxnet virus that attacked Iranian nuclear systems in 2010 — and could only have been created by a state.

Kaspersky made the 20-gigabyte virus available to other researchers, saying it did not fully understand its scope.

Flame is the third cyber attack weapon targeting systems in the Middle East to be exposed in recent years.  The Russian security firm said the program appeared to have been released five years ago, and had infected machines in Iran, Israel, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

“If Flame went on undiscovered for five years, the only logical conclusion is that there are other operations ongoing that we don’t know about,” Kaspersky senior security researcher Roel Schouwenberg told The Telegraph‘s Damien McElroy and Christopher Williams.

Iran ordered an emergency review of its official computer systems upon news of Flame’s discovery.

Mr. Schouwenberg said there was evidence to suggest the malware was commissioned by the same nation or nations that were behind Stuxnet.

Iran’s Computer Emergency Response Team said Flame was “a close relation” of Stuxnet, and that organizations had been given software to detect and remove the malware earlier this month.

Flame does not spread itself automatically, but only when hidden controllers permit it to do so.  The malware’s unprecedented layers of software allow it to penetrate remote computer networks undetected.

The virus infects Microsoft Windows machines, has five encryption algorithms and sophisticated data storage formats.

Components of Flame enable those behind it, who use a network of rapidly-shifting “command and control” servers, to direct the virus to turn microphones into listening devices, steal documents and log keystrokes.

Once a machine is infected, additional modules can be added to the system allowing the machine to undertake specific tracking projects.

“It took us 6 months to analyze Stuxnet.  [This] is 20 times more complicated,” said Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of Kaspersky Lab.

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab said they would share a full list of the files and traces with technology professionals in the coming weeks.

Source: RedOrbit

Entertainment

Best Picture Nominated WWII Biopic Arriving on DVD

  Hacksaw Ridge DVD Review by Kam Williams Best Picture Nominated WWII Biopic Arriving on DVD     Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains where he was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist. Devoutly religious, he followed his faith's literal interpretation  of the 10 Commandments, including the 5th's dictate that "Thou shalt not kill." So, when he rushed to enlisted in the Army right after the Japanese sneak … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

  The President's Kitchen Cabinet The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by Adrian Miller University of North Carolina Press Hardcover, $30.00 292 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the African-Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder

  History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder by Amy Lignor   For the longest time, scientists and archaeologists have been confused and bemused by various discoveries they’ve unearthed that offer little or no explanation as to the who, what, and why of the people who created these things or left them behind. Even now, in 2017, there are discoveries being studied; stories that were once legends now have actual bits of proof being found that … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Trump and Traditions of the Founders

  Trump and Traditions of the Founders By Ezrah Aharone Maybe I should watch more CNN or MSNBC to be convinced since most Black people seemingly regard Donald Trump as some sort of abrupt political mutation who violates America’s traditions. What I see in Trump is “America’s traditional reflection in the mirror.” I see the exact same hardline and hostile government that the founders deliberately engineered with deep political and racial … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Skeeter Recognized Again for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction

  Skeeter Recognized Again for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction    Skeeter, a leader in performance fishing boats, announced today from the Miami International Boat Show® that the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA®) has again recognized Skeeter with a CSI Award for excellence in customer satisfaction in the Freshwater Fiberglass Outboard Boat category. This year’s award is the fifteenth consecutive for Skeeter, an … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Super Bowl LI’s Message: Patriotism

  Super Bowl LI’s Message: Patriotism by Amy Lignor   There are some people waking up this morning completely stunned. Why? Because they shut the Super Bowl off after the third quarter. They knew what was “going to happen” and had to go to work today, so why bother staying up and watching the rest of what was going to be an obvious blow-out? Besides, they had been given some memorable commercials, a great country western singer ushering … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Mobile Phone Forecast: Is Saturation of the Market in Sight?

  Mobile Phone Forecast: Is Saturation of the Market in Sight? by Amy Lignor   It is a fact that when people say no matter where they look – whether it be while walking down a neighborhood sidewalk, driving in their cars, shopping at the grocery store – it seems that everyone on the planet is holding a phone to their ear, or staring down at the screen in order to text, get information, search online, or watch Facebook and Twitter … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

It’s Time to Save for Summer Vacation!

  It’s Time to Save for Summer Vacation! by Amy Lignor   Putting the “pennies in the piggy bank” is something everyone in this world does (or wants to do) on a daily basis. But NOW is the time to take those “extra” pennies and purchase that great piggy bank that’s perhaps wearing some sunglasses, a colorful hat, some swim trunks…anything that makes that new piggy remind you of the one thing you want to do all year long – go on the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]