The Flame virus which sat on computers throughout the Middle East for nearly two years was created by experts in the United States and Israel according to sources cited by The Washington Post.
According to reports the Flame virus was created by the U.S. National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and Israel’s military.
The virus was reportedly created to map and monitor Iran’s networks, specifically in regards to the countries nuclear program. By gathering information throughout the Middle East the Flame virus could then be used for future attacks.
A source close to the virus tells the Washington Post:
“This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action. Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.”
The virus went undetected since 2010 and was only revealed after virus firm Kaspersky discovered its intense coding which the company said appeared to be “state-sponsored” because of its complexity. It was later discovered that the virus used trust Microsoft certificates to bypass security protocols. The Flame virus was capable of capturing audio conversations, keystrokes, screen displays and other information.
Since the Flame virus was discovered the U.S. military has been tight-lipped over the entire situation while Israeli vice prime minister Moshe Ya’alon said “there are quite a few governments in the West that have rich high-tech [capabilities] that view Iran, and particularly the Iranian nuclear threat, as a meaningful threat — and can possibly be involved with this field.”
Flame is believed to have been part of a program called “Olympic Games” which also included the highly effective Stuxnet virus that specifically targeted Iran’s nuclear efforts.