A cyber attack that towers above all others was recently discovered by Russian security firm Kaspersky. The attacks are more sinister and troubling than any other since the development of the Internet.
The malware, named "Flame," is so far-reaching and highly technical, that experts believe that only a government could have developed it. The question, for the moment, is which government? The most famous spyware prior to Flame was Stuxnet, a malware designed specifically to invade Iran's nuclear infrastructure. This particular virus, however, doesn't have just one specific function. It is mutable, it can be programmed once it's embedded in the target's system, and can send information on just about anything requested of it.
Kaspersky told the BBC news that Flame is "one of the most complex threats ever discovered." Kaspersky wasn't alone in researching this threat. It was done in partnership with the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union.
The malware doesn't attack only the computer systems it invades, it can attack any wireless device within close proximity. University of Surrey Department of Computing professor Alex Woodward asserts that one of the more complex and alarming features of this malware is that it can scan for nearby bluetooth devices and steal the information on them. It can also record audio from a device's microphone and take screenshots of any windows currently open on the computer's screen.
So, just who is responsible for developing this incredibly advanced malware? Take a look at who and what it's targeted, and you'll come up with some likely possibilities: Iran, Israel, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They are all located in the Middle East. They are all nations with questionable social instability. They are all nations with regimes that tend toward war and conflict.
Kaspersky's chief is convinced a nation-state is responsible for the multi-layered cyber attack, and that this malware has been invading its targets since 2010. Is the responsible nation, indeed, the United States? Or is it Great Britain? Russia? Could it be India or China?
The question isn't why a government would develop such an advanced form of malware, but who? Military and technological secrets are priceless in international negotiations. Could it have been a nation that normally stays out of conflicts, keeping to itself, quietly chugging along, and saving the information it's gleaned for its own financial gain?
Â©2012 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.