(The Hosting News) – Just a month after an online security breach forced Iran’s oil network offline, the country is finding itself at the center of another hacking dilemma. On Monday, Russian-based security firm Kaspersky Lab detailed an extensive virus affecting computer systems in the Islamic Republic.
Called “The Flame,” Kaspersky referred to the virus as “the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed.” Despite primarily being active in Iran, other middle-eastern countries including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian territories had also been hit by the virus.
While no primary source could be confirmed, the attack was thought to originate from an unknown nation state. The virus file is massive, encompassing 20 MB of data. Acting a backdoor trojan, it contains a number of features including scripting language Lua along with a variety of database manipulation and compression libraries.
“Once a system is infected, Flame begins a complex set of operations, including sniffing the network traffic, taking screenshots, recording audio conversations, intercepting the keyboard, and so on,” commented Kaspersky Lab Expert Aleks in a blog post.
“All this data is available to the operators through the link to Flame’s command-and-control servers,” Aleks continued. No specific target of the virus was listed. However, those infected included educational institutions, government organizations and individuals.
The revelation of Flame recalls Iran’s other virus problems. The country was a primary target of the Stuxnet virus, also widely thought to have been launched by a nation-state. That virus temporarily disabled the country’s nuclear operations.