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Malware Worm “Flame” Stealing Data, Recording Audio rom Personal Computers in Middle East

A screen shot of the malware worm “Flame.”
Krishnan Vasuvedan

Cyber security researchers have found another malware worm infecting computers in Iran and Israel, and it’s even bigger and badder than the last one.

Flame, as it’s being called, has been operating since August of 2010, according to Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs, and it does everything from log network traffic and take screen shots to record audio conversations from your computer. The complex worm apparently rivals Stuxnet—the virus that targeted nuclear infrastructure in Iran—and Wiper, another kind of malware that has been deleting data from computers in Asia.

Researchers think Flame was too complex to be created by hacktivists or cyber criminals, and was instead backed by a nation-state; but they don’t know which one yet. More than 600 specific targets, from individuals and businesses to academic and government institutions, were hit by the malware. Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt were also impacted. More proof that the more we look at our computers, the more they are starting to look right back.

Video by Krishnan Vasuvedan.