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Morning Security Brief: Researchers Discover Super Malware, Top Al Qaeda Leader Killed in Strike, The World Tomorrow, and More

By Carlton Purvis

 

►Malware described as “the most sophisticated cyberweapon yet unleashed" has been discovered on computers in Iran, throughout the Middle East, and possibly Europe. “The malware, dubbed Worm.Win32.Flame, is unusual in its complexity, size and the multitude of ways it has of harvesting information from an infected computer including keyboard, screen, microphone, storage devices, network, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB and system processes,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Both Kaspersky Labs and CrySyS Lab recently discovered the malware. Technical analysis of the program leaves no doubt that Flame was created by a nation-state, according to Kaspersky Labs. “Once injected, the malware would contact one of the many command and control servers around the world and download additional modules as needed. It used the same technique as Stuxnet, an earlier highly sophisticated malware, to seek out other machines to infect,” said Vitaly Kamluk, chief malware expert for Kaspersky Labs. Of 382 infections reported, 189 where in Iran. The malware targeted individuals rather than organizations. And it may have been infecting computers as far back as 2007. Most malware is a few hundred kilobytes, while Flame was estimated to be as much as 20 megabytes.

►Al Qaeda’s second-in-command was killed in an air strike in Afghanistan, NATO said Tuesday. Sakhr al-Taifi, also known as Mushtaq and Nasim, was killed along with another al Qaeda member on Sunday. Al-Taifi was responsible for leading foreign insurgents in Afghanistan and directing attacks on NATO. He also traveled between Pakistan and Afghanistan transporting weapons and fighters.

►The latest episode of Wikileaks frontman Julian Assange’s interview show The World Tomorrow features a discussion with five high-profile Occupy activists.

►In other news, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake rocked Italy Tuesday morning, killing 10 people. The region is still recovering from an earthquake nine days ago that killed seven people. ♦ The U.N. says most of the dead in the massacre of 108 people in rural Syria last week were executed. Locals say government troops shelled the village then swept through killing survivors at close range. The Syrian government has denied any role in the massacre. The dead included 34 women and 49 children.♦ And researchers have found a new way to fight the flu virus using manufactured genes as antivirals to disable key parts of the virus.

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