This is a little scary, particularly if it were put in the wrong hands. Via The Times of Israel:
A new, unprecedented computer virus called “Flame” (or “sKyWIper”) has hit Iran, the West Bank, and other Middle Eastern locations. It is already considered one of the most sophisticated cyber weapons ever unleashed. Internet security company Kaspersky said Monday that Flame was the “most complex piece of malicious software discovered to date.”
The cyber-espionage worm, designed to collect and delete sensitive information, is said to have 20 times as much code as Stuxnet, which attacked an Iranian uranium enrichment facility (and some 16,000 computers), causing centrifuges to fail. Iran blamed Israel and the US for its creation.
Flame is also believed to contain an element that was used in Stuxnet. Kaspersky said the Flame malware may have been lurking inside thousands of computers across the Middle East for between five and eight years. The creator of the virus is not yet known….
The country with the largest number of machines infected by Flame is believed to be Iran, following by the West Bank, and Sudan and Syria after that. Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have also been affected.
The Telegraph reports:
Kaspersky Labs said the programme 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,” Roel Schouwenberg, a Kaspersky security senior researcher, said.
Professor Alan Woodward from the department of computing at the University of Surrey said the virus was extremely invasive. It could “vacuum up” information by copying keyboard strokes and the voices of people nearby.
This is just the latest in problems for Iran after Stuxnet:
Kaspersky’s researchers said the majority of computers infected with Flame were located in Iran. Like Duqu and Stuxnet, Flame infects machines through a known security hole in the Windows operating software.
Researchers discovered Flame while investigating reports that another computer virus, called Wiper, had been wiping out computer systems in Iran. The International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency, had asked Kaspersky’s researchers to look into Wiper when they discovered that thousands more computers had been infected with Flame.
The Kaspersky fact sheet on Flame is here (but as of this writing the site was down).