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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flame and Stuxnet Worms Were Brothers

According to Kaspersky’s security labs, the Flame and Stuxnet worms, both developed to tear apart critical IT infrastructure in the countries opposed to American interests, shared the same platform,at least once, in the early stages.

Kaspersky’s research discovered that Flame and Stuxnet worms were actually related. Although it is unclear whether they were separated brothers or distant cousins, they definitely originated from the same source in the early stages.

Kaspersky discovered that a module from an early version of Stuxnet warm (Resource 207) was a Flame plugin – an encrypted DLL file with an executable file similar to Flame's code. Then the Duqu Trojan emerged in reports, though it was developed as a backdoor rather than to hack infrastructure. Kaspersky noted similarities between Duqu and Stuxnet and concluded that they were both made with the same attack platform – the Tilded.

In other words, when Stuxnet was created in 2009, Flame already existed, and at least one of its modules was used in Stuxnet – the one designed to spread the infection by USB. Kaspersky confirmed that it was identical in both viruses. However, the plugin module in question was later removed from the worm and replaced by the one exploiting different vulnerabilities. This proves that there were two development teams working independently, but some experts believe that the cooperation could have continued.

According to Kaspersky’s chief security expert, they are confident that Flame and Tilded were different platforms used to create multiple cyber weapons. Despite the fact that they had different architectures, the teams are believed to share source code in the early stages of development. The Democrats were strangely enthusiastic to admit Stuxnet’s responsibility, but Israeli officials claimed that Israeli intelligence started a cyber campaign several years earlier, in order to damage Iran’s nuclear program.

Meanwhile, the press pointed out that its sources understood the sensitivity and the timing of the matter, perhaps giving a nod to the election campaign. Therefore, no-one from the researchers and reporters isn’t going to be dragged into a battle over taking credit.

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