Back in the mid-2000’s The need to start to keep Iran’s nuclear goals in check was obvious. So the United States, led by George Bush, and Israel started to develop a massive piece of malware that secretly mapped and monitored Iran’s computer networks, sending back a steady stream of intelligence to prepare for a cyberwarfare campaign. This virus, called Flame, is believed to be the first sustained campaign of cyber-sabotage against an adversary of the United States.
“This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,” said one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who added that Flame and Stuxnet were elements of a broader assault that continues today. “Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.”
The Flame virus was first revealed last month when Iranian officials detected a cyber attack on its oil refineries. The United States was not too happy that Israel decided to launch this phase of their attack without notifying American officials. In doing so they have effectively wiped out a virus that has been quietly doing its job for 5 plus years.
The Flame virus seems to be a precursor to the now infamous Stuxnet virus that directly effected almost 1,000 centrifuges and caused them to spin out of control. The damage occurred gradually, over months, and Iranian officials initially thought it was the result of incompetence.
“The scale of the espionage and sabotage effort is proportionate to the problem that’s trying to be resolved,” the former intelligence official said. “Although Stuxnet and Flame infections can be countered, it doesn’t mean that other tools aren’t in play or performing effectively.”
It is not yet clear the extent of the United Staes’ involvement in the development in making the virus, but it is believed that the U.S. relied on its 2 top spy agencies: The C.I.A. and the N.S.A.. The NSA, known mainly for its electronic eavesdropping and code-breaking capabilities, has extensive expertise in developing malicious code that can be aimed at U.S. adversaries, including Iran. The CIA lacks the NSA’s sophistication in building malware but is deeply involved in the execution of the cyber-campaign.
The disruptions from the Americans and Israelis has led the Iranians to ask a Russian security firm and a Hungarian cyber-lab for help.
So it looks as though any questions about Iran’s true intentions are already known by our government because this virus has been sending back info for years. The U.S. will know the day Iran gains the ability to build a nuclear weapon and they will put a stop to it.