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Israel: Flaming Iran with virus is reasonable

AFP

Israel's vice prime minister says using cyber-weapons when faced with the threat of a nuclear Iran, would be a "reasonable step".

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon. (AFP)

For anyone facing the threat of a nuclear Iran, using cyberweapons such as the newly-discovered destructive virus known as Flame, would be a “reasonable” step, Israel’s vice prime minister said on Tuesday.

“For anyone who sees the Iranian threat as significant, it is reasonable that he would take different steps, including these, in order to hobble it,” Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon told Israel’s army radio on Tuesday, just hours after the virus was discovered by Kaspersky Lab.

“Israel is blessed with being a country which is technologically rich, and these tools open up all sorts of possibilities for us,” he said.

Late on Monday, Kaspersky Labs, a top Russian anti-virus firm said it had uncovered a new virus with unprecedented destructive potential which was being used as a “cyberweapon” against several countries.

Kaspersky said the virus was several times larger than the Stuxnet worm which was discovered in June 2010 and used against the Iranian nuclear programme, with Israel widely suspected of involvement along with Western security agencies.

Flame is “actively being used as a cyber weapon attacking entities in several countries,” a Kaspersky statement said, describing its purpose as “cyber-espionage”.

“The complexity and functionality of the newly discovered malicious programme exceed those of all other cyber menaces known to date,” it added.

It did not say which country the virus was aimed at but said the investigation began following complaints from the UN’s International Telecommunication Union about a piece of malware named Wiper which was deleting sensitive information across the Middle East.

According to Western media reports, Flame has been used to attack the Iranian oil ministry and Iran’s main oil export terminal.

Kaspersky said Flame had been “in the wild” for more than two years, since March 2010. – AFP

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