28 June 2012
During the past weeks several reports have emerged revealing details on one of the gravest cyber-attacks that have taken place, the Flame malware. It has been suggested that Flame has been co-sponsored by the same State or States that had launched Stuxnet, even though the head of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) of the UN has stated that this is mere speculation, Stuxnet being the virus that had targeted the Iranian nuclear programme. Flame has been used to attack computers and network systems across the Middle East. The malware exploited a flaw in the Windows operating system in order to map and monitor the targeted computers. The situation provoked a reaction by the ITU, which stressed the need for co-operation among states in addressing the problems arising out of the growing use of networks to infiltrate and cause damage to systems across the world.
The suggestion that Flame was launched by more than one State raises a number of questions concerning the apportionment of responsibility among the actors that have participated in the cyber-attack. Matters become even more complicated if one takes into account that in some instances non-state actors are also involved in the cyber-attacks. (more…)