“The Sky is Falling… Are You at Risk from the Flame Malware?”

The last time I checked with Google News this morning there were over 19,100,000 results for “flame malware”.  You may have heard many stories this week about this complex trojan. Here are links to three of my current personal favorite articles on “Flame”.

  1. Powerful ‘Flame’ cyberweapon tied to popular Angry Birds game – (Fox News)
  2. Behind the ‘Flame’ malware spying on Mideast computers (FAQ) – (CNET)
  3. Flame Malware’s Ties To Stuxnet, Duqu: Details Emerge – (InformationWeek)

Is the Flame malware otherwise known as Flamer or sKyWiper likely to affect you personally?  For the vast majority of people on the Internet the answer is “no”. For nuclear researchers in the Middle East and leaders of countries such as Iran, Israel and Sudan, then the answer is qualified “yes”.

Malware such as the recent “Flame” shows how cyberespionage and digital attacks have evolved. In years past, the malware developers would create code that would spread far and wide and infect any and all computers in it’s path.

Today, the Flame malware code is both highly targeted, and carefully crafted to remain undetected. The summary of this threat is that the Flame malware was focused on gathering, collecting and sending data, stealing information and intelligence on computer systems centered in the Middle East.

Our own Malware Intelligence Lead, Adam Kujawa spent considerable time looking into how the Flame malware differs from the recent Stuxnet and Duqu threats and includes a summary of public threats to be concerned about, namely Remote Administration Tools/Trojans (RATs) including a throwback mention of Poison Ivy for good measure. I would encourage you to check out his detailed and informative post here:

  • davidodum

    Will anti-malware vendors start to choose whether to side with or against nations and ideologies? If Stuxnet is targeting only countries which Symantec leadership considers unstable, for example, what are the chances that they would choose to exclude Stuxnet from their detection routines?

    In effect, if Malwarebytes’ Antimalware successfully stops an American-originated Stuxnet attack on an Iranian nuclear research computer system, would that not inadvertently oppose the interests of the U.S. government?

  • Marcus Chung

    David, that is a great ideological and fundamental business question. As a security company, we have twin obligations to protect our customers and follow the laws of countries we do business in. I believe that the security industry as a whole acts as a series of checks and balances. Specifically, no single nation or group of nations are able to keep all security companies aligned with their politics and/or committed to following a single-minded agenda. This in fact is how “Flame” was discovered. Security experts from other countries that were willing and able to work with Iran and others uncovered “Flame”.

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