U.S., Israel developed Flame computer virus: newspaper

WASHINGTON Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:32pm BST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Israel jointly developed the Flame computer virus that collected intelligence to help slow Iran's nuclear program, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous Western officials.

The so-called Flame malware aimed to map Iran's computer networks and monitor computers of Iranian officials, the newspaper said. It was 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, the Post said.

The cyber campaign against Iran's nuclear program has included the use of another computer virus called Stuxnet that caused malfunctions in Iran's nuclear enrichment equipment, the newspaper said.

Current and former U.S. and Western national security officials confirmed to Reuters that the United States played a role in creating the Flame virus.

Since Flame was an intelligence "collection" virus rather than a cyberwarfare program to sabotage computer systems, it required less-stringent U.S. legal and policy review than any U.S. involvement in offensive cyberwarfare efforts, experts told Reuters.

The CIA, NSA, Pentagon, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

Flame is the most complex computer spying program ever discovered.

Two leading computer security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Symantec Corp - have linked some of the software code in the Flame virus to the Stuxnet computer virus, which was widely believed to have been used by the United States and Israel to attack Iran's nuclear program.

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (3)
Wvandamme wrote:
To remember in case the US again acuses certain countries of using the internet to attack others.

Jun 20, 2012 11:03am BST  --  Report as abuse
Wvandamme wrote:
To remember in case the US again acuses certain countries of using the internet to attack others.

Jun 20, 2012 11:03am BST  --  Report as abuse
finchley wrote:
So suddenly it seems to be OK to hack into a country’s computer systems. There are some very odd and lop-sided laws in the land of ‘The Free’ where justice seems to be only as devised by people like Dick Cheney and his fellow traveller, Rumsfeld.

I’m actually in favour of hacking government systems. It helps to improve them during peaceful times. Otherwise the monolithic inertia would prevent any advances.

Jun 20, 2012 2:03pm BST  --  Report as abuse
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