A new cyber espionage program associated to the notorious Flame and Gauss malware has been detected by Russia's Kaspersky Lab. The anti-virus giant’s chief warns that global cyber warfare is in “full swing” and will probably accelerate in 2013.
The virus, named miniFlame, and as well-known as SPE, has by now infected computers Systems in Iran, Lebanon, France, the United States and Lithuania. It was exposed in July 2012 and is defined as “a small and highly flexible malicious program designed to steal data and control infected systems during targeted cyber espionage operations,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.
The malware was initially identified as an appendage of Flame – the program used for targeted cyber espionage in the Middle East and acknowledged to be part of mutual US-Israeli efforts to damage Iran’s nuclear program.
But later, Kaspersky Lab analysts learned that miniFlame is an “interoperable tool that could be used as an independent malicious program, or concurrently as a plug-in for both the Flame and Gauss malware.”
The analysis also exposed new evidence of cooperation between the creators of Flame and Gauss, as both viruses can use miniFlame for their operations.
“MiniFlame’s ability to be used as a plug-in by either Flame or Gauss clearly connects the collaboration between the development teams of both Flame and Gauss. Since the connection between Flame and Stuxnet/Duqu has already been revealed, it can be concluded that all these advanced threats come from the same 'cyber warfare' factory,” Kaspersky Lab said.