Obama’s virus wars: mutually assured cyber-destruction
The Guardian— Recent revelations about Flame, the most sophisticated cyber-worm ever created, and David Sanger’s White House-authorized leak of classified information confirming US-Israeli collaboration in creating the Stuxnet and Duqu viruses, raise the question of how committed the US is to a negotiated resolution of the nuclear impasse with Iran.
A former senior Israeli government minister has told us that, just as Sanger confirmed Stuxnet was created in partnership with the IDF’s Unit 8200 cyber warfare unit, Flame was created by similar figures in Israel. Stuxnet’s main purpose was to sabotage Iran’s uranium enrichment program. A Flame variant appears to have wiped out the hard drives of specific Iranian officials and damaged the National Iranian Oil Company’s computer network last month, forcing some oil terminals to go offline.
Flame has even broader goals and capabilities. It targets specific computers and surveils the entire system, takes screenshots of instant messaging (IM) activity, and can turn on a microphone to monitor audio activity as well. Computers in a number of Arab countries deemed hostile to Israel (mostly Iran, but also Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Russia) have been infected.