US, Israel Use Flame Virus to Target Iran: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

According to a new report, the governments of the United States and Israel were jointly responsible for crafting and turning loose the new Flame virus. The apparent goal of the project: to disrupt Iran's nuclear weapons program.

The report about the origins of Flame was published in the Washington Post, which indicates that Flame was originally designed to act as a cyber weapon that could help its creators acquire "sensitive" information from the Middle East region.

Flame Project Known as "Olympic Games"

The overarching project that ultimately yielded Flame, known as "Olympic Games", was also involved in targeting Iran's nuclear weapons program. However, it's unclear what role U.S. officials played in this part of Olympic Games.

It "was directed by Israel in a unilateral operation that apparently caught its American partners off guard," the Post reported. (Source:

The Post report also says it learned what it knows about Flame and its origins from a high-ranking intelligence official associated with the U.S. government. (Source:

U.S. Officials Deny Connection to Virus

Journalists have previously drawn the same kinds of links between Flame and officials working for the U.S. and Israel.

Shortly after Flame was first discovered by security firm Kaspersky Lab in May 2012, the New York Times reported the virus to be an extension of the older Stuxnet worm. The Times report claimed the goal of Flame was to disrupt the development of Iranian nuclear devices.

U.S. officials later denied this allegation.

Regardless of its origins, Flame is a highly advanced virus. It can be used to detect network activity, take screenshots of remote systems, record spoken conversations, and intercept typed messages.

Even without confirmation that these governments gave birth to Flame, the powerful virus's complexity has led many security officials to speculate that it could not be the work of amateur or even professional hackers, but must be designed by experts supported by a nation state.

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