Flame I'm Gonna Live Forever

Preemptive Cyber Strikes Doctrine: Expect More Stuxnets

President Barack Obama does not want Wikipedia to shut down again. (Photo: Wikimedia)

With cyber attacks whistling by at an ever-increasing clip, it’s not surprising that the Obama administration is hard at work nailing down how to respond. The policies will remain hush-hush once they’re finalized, but the New York Times (which previously connected the president to the deployment of Stuxnet) has one juicy tidbit: A classified legal review has found that the president has “broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad.”

That’ll sound familiar to anyone who hasn’t entirely repressed the memory of the Bush administration! (Mr. President, a very agitated Colin Powell is on line two. Something about enriched uranium and the U.N.?) Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Kim Dotcom Is Back, Baby

Mr. Dotcom. (commons.wikimedia.orgAndreas_Bohnenstengel)

Kim Dotcom’s new service, Mega, will offer users a whopping 50GB of free storage. [TNW]

Welcome to the age of the cyber arms race, folks. An Air Force official recently informed reporters that, having been caught unprepared by Stuxnet, Iran has beefed up its cyber arsenal and will soon be a “force to be reckoned with.” [Reuters]

You can now turn your Facebook data into a 3D-printed tchotchke. [Wired]

Hey iPhone users: You can make voice calls from within your Facebook Messenger app. Provided, of course, you actually use Facebook Messenger, as opposed to communicating wholly through Snapchats. [New York Times]

It seems that for all the talk of sharp-elbowed recruiting techniques in the tech world, a couple of companies–including Apple and Google–once had a gentlemen’s agreement not to poach. That’s now coming back to potentially bite them in the butt, in the form of a possible class-action lawsuit. [Reuters]

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Out in the Wild, Government-Created Stuxnet Virus Now Infecting Corporations

Stuxnet's command and control. (Krebs On Security)

In Stephen King’s apocalyptic horror novel The Stand, a government-created virus escapes into the wild and kills most of the people on Earth. About two years ago, a similar scenario almost came true–but, fortunately for living creatures the bug was the U.S.-and-Israeli-made Stuxnet malware. The unintended victim was Chevron’s computer network.

Stuxnet was the highly sophisticated worm that successfully infiltrated Iran’s nuclear enrichment plants in 2010. According to The Wall Street Journal, Stuxnet wasted no time infecting friends as well as foes: Read More

Malware Mischief

Kaspersky Lab is Working on its Own Super-Secure Industrial Operating System

Mr. Kaspersky not looking supervillain-like at all. (Photo: flickr.com/cebitaus

Inspired by the behaviors of sophisticated malware such as Stuxnet, Flame, Duqu and Gauss, Russian billionaire and possible real-life Batman Eugene Kaspersky announced today that his Kaspersky Lab is developing a new operating system.

Mr. Kaspersky’s announcement wasn’t heavy on details about the OS, but security was obviously priority one. Acknowledging that Microsoft, Apple and the open source communities haven’t been able to create truly secure controls, Mr. Kaspersky basically said the problem with the previous systems was their universality: Read More

Flame I'm Gonna Live Forever

Meet MiniFlame, The Ninja Assassin of Cyber Warfare Tools

kasperskyminiflamedistrib

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab have been patiently picking apart the ingenious malware packages that romped through computer networks in the Middle East, sucking up data and destroying Iranian nuclear centrifuges and it seems Kaspersky finds a new addition to the allegedly U.S. and Israeli-sponsored family of cyber-weapons every other month. Monday they announced the discovery of the Flame malware’s baby cousin, MiniFlame.

Kaspersky’s bug hunters found that MiniFlame’s association with Flame and related infections was Transformers-like in nature: Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Iran Possibly Behind ‘Operation Ababil’ Cyber Attacks Against Financial Institutions

Stuxnet's command and control. (Krebs On Security)

Cyber attackers who went after Chase and Bank of America with Directed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on the banks’ websites may have been working for Iran.

A report from the Washington Post cites several officials who have made this claim, including Senator Joseph Lieberman, the chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The Post reports that in an interview with C-SPAN, Sen. Lieberman disputed the idea the attackers were independent hacktivists outraged by a controversial anti-Muslim film: Read More

Flame I'm Gonna Live Forever

Nonstop Cyber Warfare Is Your Scary New Jam

This guy is everywhere now. (Image Devdsp on Flickr

Humanity’s fear of “war without end” has yet to be completely fulfilled in the analog world, but state-sponsored cyber warfare has been afoot for years and is only getting worse. That’s one takeaway from cyber security expert Pete Warren’s report in The Guardian on government-created malware.

Mr. Warren consulted a number of anonymous security experts with military ties to get a sense of how long major governments have been developing nefarious software packages like Flame, Duqu and Stuxnet. Some systems, writes Mr. Warren, “have been under development since at least 1996.”  Moreover, the United States and its allies aren’t the only nations with skin in the malware game: Read More

Cyber Nukes

Iranian Atomic Scientists Reportedly Being Assaulted With AC/DC

THUNDA STRUCK!

Looks like the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz is, at the very least, 0 for 2 against cyber attacks. First came Stuxnet, which wreaked havoc with the equipment used to purify uranium. And now–at least, if a recent report (via VentureBeat) is true–they are dealing with a malware infestation involving sudden, late-night AC/DC.

F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen received the following email from someone who claimed to be an Iranian nuclear scientist:  Read More

Flame I'm Gonna Live Forever

Yup, Flame Probably Was Part of U.S. Efforts to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Program

Let slip the dogs of cyber war. (flickr.com/anhonorablegerman)

We already suspected this to be the case, and now the Washington Post has confirmation from unnamed officials that yes, the U.S. was behind the Flame virus infecting computers across the Middle East, as part of a campaign to slow the development of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In other news, America’s cyber weapons program apparently has more leaks than a watering can.

The Post reports: Read More