Newsletters
The Enterprise Security Supersite NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home Network Security Viruses & Malware Cybercrime Security Solutions More Topics...
Data Security
Tame your scariest paperwork. Find Out How
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Meet Flame
Meet Flame's Malicious Little Brother, miniFlame

By Barry Levine
October 15, 2012 1:34PM

Bookmark and Share
Kaspersky Labs found that miniFlame is based on the same architectural platform as Flame, and that it operates in cyber espionage as a backdoor for data theft and for access to infected systems. Six variations of miniFlame have been found so far, and its development is thought to have started as early as 2007 and continued through 2011.
 


Here comes miniFlame. On Monday, security firm Kaspersky Labs announced that it had discovered, and dubbed with that name, a small and "highly flexible" malicious spy program for grabbing data and controlling systems.

"Spy," in this case, doesn't mean eavesdropping on your transactions with your local bank, but actual country-to-country espionage, as miniFlame's big brother, Flame, reportedly did. Also known as SPE, miniFlame was originally identified by Kaspersky experts in July as a module within Flame.

Interoperable Tool

Last month, Kaspersky conducted a deeper analysis of Flame, after the discovery of another apparently state-sponsored malware it called Gauss. Kaspersky found that the miniFlame module was, in fact, an interoperable tool that could serve either as independent malware, or as a plug-in for either Flame or Gauss. This analysis led to the conclusion by Kaspersky that there had been co-operation, at least, between the creators of Flame and Gauss.

Kaspersky's chief security expert, Alexander Gostev, said in a statement that miniFlame is "a high precision attack tool," and that it is probably used in a "second wave of a cyberattack." According to the security firm, miniFlame was most likely deployed for extremely targeted cyber espionage, was probably used inside machines already infected by Flame or Gauss, and has probably infected 10 to 20 machines.

The most likely scenario, Gostev said, is Flame or Gauss is used "to infect as many victims as possible to collect large quantities of information." After the data has been retrieved and reviewed, he surmised, miniFlame "is installed in order to conduct more in-depth surveillance and cyber-espionage.

Kaspersky also found that miniFlame is based on the same architectural platform as Flame, and that it operates as a backdoor for data theft and for access to infected systems. Six variations of miniFlame have been found so far, and its development is thought to have started as early as 2007 and continued through 2011.

'Most Sophisticated Cyber Weapon'

In early May, the existence of the Flame virus was first revealed by security experts, which they described as one of the most complex viruses ever found. It's not clear who created it, or for what purpose, but most experts believe it was targeted specifically at computers in Iran and possibly other Middle Eastern countries. The virus' creator has been attributed, without confirmation, to either the United States or Israel, or both.

Later in May, Microsoft announced that it was increasing security on its Windows Update software, which apparently had been used to distribute the Flame virus. The technology giant said that whoever built Flame had designed it to look like a legitimate download to the receiving computer or computers. Apparently, Flame intercepted requests to Microsoft Update by uninfected computers, and then delivered its virus to those computers.

Kaspersky Labs, which helped discover Flame, has written on its SecureList blog that Flame "is one of the most interesting and complex malicious programs we have ever seen."

In short, the Labs wrote, while the previous Stuxnet and Duqu were super-virus weapons that "raised the stakes," Flame is possibly "the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet released."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Get Powerful App Acceleration with Cisco. In a world where time is money, you need to accelerate the speed at which data moves through your data center. Cisco UCS Invicta delivers powerful, easy-to-manage application acceleration for data-intensive workloads. So you can make decisions faster and outpace the competition. Learn More.


 Data Security
1.   Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
2.   Hackers Breached StubHub Accounts
3.   Juniper DDoS for High-IQ Networks
4.   Google Hacker Team to Hunt Bugs
5.   Cloud Firms Offer Azure Starter Kit


advertisement
Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
Bug reportedly reveals ID of users
Average Rating:
Gartner Rates IT Security Companies
IBM, HP, McAfee, Splunk ranked well.
Average Rating:
Hackers Target Western Energy Firms
Appears to be state-sponsored group.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 
Dropbox for Business Beefs Up Security
Dropbox is upping its game for business users. The cloud-based storage and sharing company has rolled out new security, search and other features to boost its appeal for businesses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Microsoft Makes Design Central to Its Future
Over the last four years, Microsoft has doubled the number of designers it employs, putting a priority on fashioning devices that work around people's lives -- and that are attractive and cool.
 
Contrary to Report, Lenovo's Staying in Small Windows Tablets
Device maker Lenovo has clarified a report that indicated it is getting out of the small Windows tablet business -- as in the ThinkPad 8 and the 8-inch Miix 2. But the firm said it is not exiting that market.
 
Seagate Unveils Networked Drives for Small Businesses
Seagate is out with five new networked attached storage products aimed at small businesses. The drives are for companies with up to 50 workers, and range in capacity from two to 20 terabytes.
 

Navigation
Enterprise Security Today
Home/Top News | Network Security | Viruses & Malware | Cybercrime | Security Solutions | Mobile Security | Disaster Recovery | Windows Security
Data Security | EST Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.