Virus Infects Computers Throughout Middle East

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Researchers have discovered what they're calling the largest and most sophisticated cyber weapon ever unleashed. It's called Flame, and it's been infecting computers throughout the Middle East — especially in Iran. Analysts describe it as an "attack toolkit" that conceals itself in massive amounts of code and gathers all kinds of information.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with a new cyber threat.

Researchers have discovered what they are calling the largest cyber weapon ever unleashed.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's called Flame, and it's been infecting computers throughout the Middle East - in Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and especially, Iran. Analysts describe it as an attack toolkit that conceals itself in massive amounts of code and gathers all kinds of information.

GREENE: It can take screenshots, it can monitor keystrokes, follow network traffic and remotely turn on computer microphones to record conversations. Unlike other viruses, Flame targets computers belonging to specific individuals, companies and universities.

MONTAGNE: Computer security researchers in Moscow discovered it while doing an investigation for an U.N. agency about reports of a new virus outbreak. They believe a government is behind Flame, because only a nation-state would have the budget and bandwidth to sift through all that stolen data.

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