Flame Wars: A Professional Cyber Firefight

Ever wonder if it was possible to hack into a jet, fire its missiles, and land it just in time to prevent a biochemical attack? Me neither. But what about gaining access to a laptop? What about being able to access its desktop and use its microphone? Can imagine how much information could be gathered? I’ve noticed this in quite a few Hollywood movies and I really didn’t think it was as simple as they portray it to be.

So what am I going to be talking about? Three newly discovered derivatives or strains of the malware known as Flame that are floating around in the wild. If you aren’t familiar with Flame, it’s a modularized malware program that facilitates other malicious program modules to inject code into running processes. I guess it’s very similar to Stuxnet and Duqu, but its intent isn’t to sabotage. Instead, Flame was designed for espionage purposes and has primarily been detected in Middle Eastern nations aka the adversaries of the US.  I found another little piece of information. This summer, on June 19th, A Washington Post article claimed that Flame originated from the US and Israel. The US officially denies involvement, typical, but something tells me that’s not true. The report claims that Flame was used to gather information to propel the Stuxnet attacks, both of which are just a part of a large-scale attack.

Let’s start to think about the impact of wild derivatives of a malware program that may have been developed by several nations, is hard to detect, can erase its tracks, and can extract a substantial amount of information. Depending on the target, if there is any specific target at least, the impact could be devastating.

I haven’t read anything about any claims to ownership of these derivatives. What if the targets change?

Sources:

http://www.scmagazine.com/flame-related-malware-detected-in-the-wild/article/259409/2/

http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/technology/security/flame-cyber-virus-linked-to-more-malware-1.1385435#.UFiMCY2PXng

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-israel-developed-computer-virus-to-slow-iranian-nuclear-efforts-officials-say/2012/06/19/gJQA6xBPoV_story.html

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7 thoughts on “Flame Wars: A Professional Cyber Firefight

  1. This is actually why embassies have such strict policies on electronics in secured areas. This is also why they won’t allow devices to have blue tooth on at all either.

    • Well that’s certainly a good thing to hear. Do you know if they completely prohibit devices that include blue tooth compatibility? Either way it’s a solid first line of defense.

  2. I think this just shows how countries are turning more towards cyber warfare. This these kinds of technologies and programs it’s a lot safer way to try and get information from other nations.

    • I also believe that as we enter an age where information is continually increasing in overall value, that there will be more of a shift towards cyber warfare. But as for safety I’m not too sure. We can only imagine what kind of impact a complete and unregulated release of everything handed over to Julian Assange would have. As we all know but don’t always keep in mind, information can kill.

  3. This should have been secret information. Whether it’s a major computer virus to purposely destroy software or targeted assassinations, we are probably talking about modern day acts of war that can and likely will bring retaliation in kind. Funny how if Iran had written and installed a virus like this into Israeli and U.S. computers and facilities we would consider it an act of war and retaliate. We are a very hypocritical nation.

    • I certainly agree that we are a hypocritical nation, but I also recognize how much we don’t know. In other words, I think it’s safe to assume there’s a very large chunk of information that is kept from us. If Iran attacked us in the cyber world without a noticeable(to the general public) impact I think we wouldn’t ever know about it. Or at least we would have to wait 50 years for some form of declassification. I do see a possibility of cyber warfare targeted not at our government, but at our economy/industry.

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