Newsletters
The Enterprise Security Supersite NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Network Security Viruses & Malware Cybercrime Security Solutions More Topics...
Eliminate costly downtime!
Find out how with Free White Paper
& enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Viruses & Malware
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:



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Viruses & Malware
1.   Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions at Risk
2.   Big DDoS Attacks Hit Record in 2014
3.   Google Hacker Team to Hunt Bugs
4.   Russian Hacker's Charges Revealed
5.   Hackers Target Western Energy Firms


advertisement
Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions at Risk
Users: stick to apps from Google Play.
Average Rating:
Big DDoS Attacks Hit Record in 2014
Attackers often use NTP reflection.
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
Canadian Government Charges China With Cyberattack
The government of Canada is not happy with China. Canadian officials have accused "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" of launching a cyberattack on its National Research Council.
 
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.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Dell, BlackBerry Not Sweating Apple-IBM Alliance
IBM's recent move to partner with Apple to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both companies, but two rivals say they are unperturbed for now.
 
Watson Gets His First Customer Service Gig
Since appearing on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer has been making a living using his super-intelligent knowledge base for business verticals. Now, Watson's been hired for his first customer service job.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Virgin Mobile Offers Custom Smartphone Plans
As the wireless carrier wars continue heating up, Virgin Mobile just threw the customization coal onto the fire. The firm has debuted a no-annual-contract plan with rates based on individual use.
 
Collaboration Provider Asana Revamps Mobile App
Asana, a collaboration software provider started by a Facebook founder, is now out with a rebuilt native iOS mobile app. It replaces one that even the company admits was not up to par.
 
Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions of Users at Risk
Having this fake ID is nothing to brag about, even if you are a minor. The “Fake ID” Android flaw drops malware into smartphone apps. It can steal credit card data and even take over your device.
 

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.