The most sophisticated and powerful virus, Flame, was created jointly by Israel and the U.S. to slow down Iran's nuclear program, as per a Washington Post report. In the report, the newspaper has cited some anonymous Western officials and claims that Flame malware was build to map Iran's computer networks and monitor computers of Iranian officials. Furthermore, it was reportedly designed to provide intelligence to help in a cyber campaign against Iran's nuclear program, involving the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel's military.

Microsoft boosts security... (Image Credit: Getty Images)

U.S. and Israel…makers of Flame virus .. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

This isn’t the first time that Iran has faced such a cyber threat. Earlier, the Stuxnet virus was known to have been built to cause malfunctions in Iran's nuclear enrichment equipment. Some current and former U.S. and Western national security officials have confirmed that the United States plays a role in creating the Flame virus. Flame appeared to be the most powerful virus ever, 20 times powerful than the Stuxnet. On infecting a system, Flame begins with its set of complex operations, which is inclusive of sniffing the network traffic, taking screenshots, recording audio conversations, intercepting the keyboard, and even monitoring the display. The information is then sent to a network of command-and-control servers located in many different parts of the world. The first instance of the malware's activities was detected in Iran, followed by some other countries like Israel, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Flame is an intelligence “collection” virus, rather than a cyberwarfare program to sabotage computer systems. So, it required less-stringent U.S. legal and policy review than any U.S. involvement in offensive cyberwarfare efforts, say experts.

Kaspersky Lab and Symantec Corp – have linked some of the software code in the Flame virus to the Stuxnet computer virus. A Kaspersky researcher had earlier claimed that the Flame Virus appears to be government funded. Later Microsoft revealed that a Windows bug allows the Flame virus to infect a system by disguising as a genuine Microsoft program and a fix was released. Though Microsoft released a software to fix the bug through its Windows Update system, security experts believed that systems that are infected with advanced viruses many not really benefit from the software update. The reason for this is that the malicious program may have disabled Windows update. The company then decided to further boost its security.


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