A cyber-attack that targeted Iran’s oil ministry and main export terminal was caused by the most sophisticated computer worm yet developed, experts have warned.
The virus appears to have been directed primarily at a small number of organisations and individuals in Iran, the West Bank, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. This will inevitably raise suspicions that Israel or the US were involved in some way.
Analysts who have been decoding the computer worm, which is called W32.Flamer, have been unable to identify the source. But they say only a professional team working for several months could have been behind it.
The CrySys Laboratory, in Hungary, said: “The results of our technical analysis supports the hypothesis that [the worm] was developed by a government agency of a nation state with significant budget and effort, and it may be related to cyberwarfare activities.”It is certainly the most sophisticated malware we [have] encountered. Arguably, it is the most complex malware ever found.”
Orla Cox, a senior analyst at Symantec, the international computer security firm, said: “I would say that this is the most sophisticated threat we have ever seen.”
Flamer appears to be an advanced version of the Stuxnet worm that ravaged Iran's uranium processing centrifuges last year, and of course there's no way to prove who is behind it, but I'm betting that if we didn't do it, we know exactly who did. Apparently it lie dormant for two years before waiting to strike, which it did last week. Some brave warrior up in US Cyber Command got a case of Code Red and some King Dons for this, no doubt.
Welcome to the brave new battlefield frontier, folks. Diplomacy through other means and all that.