Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon hinted on Monday at possible Israeli involvement in the Flame bug, which was revealed to have targeted computers in Iran and the West Bank on Monday.
“Anyone who sees the Iranian threat as a significant threat – it’s reasonable [to assume] that he will take various steps, including these, to harm it,” Ya’alon said Tuesday morning in an interview with Army Radio.
“Israel was blessed as being a country rich with high-tech, these tools that we take pride in open up all kinds of opportunities for us,” he added.
According to experts at internet security company Kaspersky who first detected the virus, Flame was most likely created by a state actor, and is capable of transferring files, screenshots, audio recordings and keystrokes from infected computers.
Ilan Proimovich, Kaspersky’s representative in Israel, told Army Radio that the worm “does not operate independently, but is controlled by a remote computer, and thus only when it receives an order does it start working. For this reason, it is difficult to detect, because it is not always active.”
Calling it a “masterpiece of programming,” he said it was sophisticated enough to change its characteristics and develop according to orders.
Kaspersky said on Monday that Flame shared certain characteristics with Stuxnet, the bug that attacked Iranian centrifuges and was discovered in 2010. Unlike Stuxnet, however, which was designed to cause damage to computerized equipment, Flame is meant to collect information. The source of the bug is as yet unknown.