Researchers at the Kaspersky Lab said Tuesday that one of the Flame
virus' main objectives was to copy confidential technical drawings pertaining to Iran's secret military and nuclear facilities.
"Flame" hit Iran
in late may and has since been hailed as "the most sophisticated cyber-bomb to date."
Tehran said it was able to contain the malware,
but had admitted that significant amounts of data have been corrupted.
According to the BBC report, the hackers controlling Flame "used a number of complex fake identities in order to carry out their plans."
Kaspersky Lab (Photo: MCT)
Kaspersky's researches said that the fake identities – complete with fake addresses and billing information – were "used to register more than 80 domain names used to distribute the malware."
Researchers were also able to put together statistics on the extent of the Flame strike. The information was gathered via "sinkholing."
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Vitaly Kamluk, a senior researcher at Kaspersky, explained that, "Sinkholing is a procedure when we discover a malicious server - whether it is an IP address or domain name - which we can take over with the help of the authorities or the (domain) registrar.
"We can redirect all the requests from the victims from infected machines to our lab server to register all these infections and log them," the BBC quoted him further.
Kamluk added that the attackers had a "high interest in AutoCad drawings, in addition to PDF and text files"; further cementing reports suggesting the Flame was on a complex reconnaissance mission.
"They were looking for the designs of mechanical and electrical equipment," Prof. Alan Woodward, from the University of Surrey, told the BBC.
"However, Iran isn't likely to have any intellectual property not available elsewhere. So, this suggests more a case of intelligence-gathering than onward selling on the black market," he added.
The origin of the cyber-attack is still unknown. Iran blamed Israel
and the United States
for the strike.
According to the report, an analysis of the malware's command and control centers (C&C) indicated that they were hosted in a variety of locations and are moved regularly. Such C&C centers have so far been detected in Hong Kong, Turkey, Germany, Poland, Malaysia, Latvia, Switzerland and the UK.
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