Flame on: Cyberwarfare is here to stay
The Middle East turned into a hotbed for cyber warfare this year, with the discovery of a new super malware, ‘Flame’, which was dubbed ”the most sophisticated cyber weapon ever made”. With code that made earlier advanced malware like Stuxnet seem amateurish, the whole security world was taken a back by the discovery of this new cyber weapon. Flame’s complexity and espionage capabilities allows it to steal network data, Skype conversations, audio recordings, Word files, Excel sheets and more; and its modular architecture all pointed to a “greater force” being behind its development. This was confirmed in June with the United States and Israel acknowledging having developed the advanced cyber virus for gaining information on Iran’s nuclear program. While the US may taken credit for the successful usage of cyber warfare, the fact remains that malware like Flame and Stuxnet have opened the Pandora’s box on cyber crime. Experts have already speculated that Flame’s techniques for spreading to other computers via disguising itself as a Microsoft Windows security update could be used by attackers in the future, due to its high success rate. Even more alarming has been the discovery by security researchers that there are still variants or mini-Flames out in the wild which have not been detected yet.