Flame is a sophisticated information-gathering program used in targeted cyber-attacks against organizations and nation states in the Middle East.
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Flame is a massive, complex and sophisticated malware designed for information gathering and espionage. Initial reports have termed this malware an 'attack toolkit' or 'platform', as it includes capabilities similar to a trojan, a worm, and a botnet-controlled backdoor.
Though the identity of the attackers remains unknown, the objective of this malware appears to be information gathering focused on organizations, institutions or nation states in the Middle East. There is speculation that this form of espionage is most likely perpetrated by a rival nation state, though no strong confirmation currently exists.
This malware is further discussed in the following Labs Weblog post:
Due to its massive size - approximately 20MB - and the complexity of its structure, analysis of the malware has been challenging and is still ongoing. The following details are based on information released in initial reports.
The malware itself is composed of multiple modules, each with specific roles. These components may be modified or removed, and new modules added, by the attackers. Among its reported capabilities are:
- Replicates via removable media, and through local networks using known vulnerabilities
- Capable of infecting Windows XP, Vista and 7 operating systems
- Able capture environment sounds via the system's microphone
- Able to capture screenshots when specific processes or windows are active
- Able to forward saved information to a remote server
- Multple command and control (C&C) servers and domains used
Initial reports indicate that multiple versions of Flame have been circulating in the wild for some time, without being detected by any major antivirus programs or other security software. At the time of writing, F-Secure has detections for known sample components.
More information, including technical analysis, is available from:
- Budapest University of Technology and Economics's Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security (CrySyS) (PDF)
- Securelist (Kaspersky): The Flame: Question and Answers
- Iran National CERT (MAHER)