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    Washington Post: Newly identified computer virus, used for spying, is 20 times size of Stuxnet

    The Washington Post reports on a new type of computer virus that is used for spying and surveillance:

    Researchers have identified a sophisticated new computer virus 20 times the size of Stuxnet, the malicious software that disabled centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear plant. But unlike Stuxnet, the new malware appears to be used solely for espionage.

    Variously dubbed Flame, Skywiper and Flamer, the new virus is the largest and possibly most complex piece of malware ever discovered, which suggests it may be state-sponsored, researchers said.

    It is loaded with functions, but so far none appear to be destructive, they said. […]

    Still, much research remains to be done on the new virus, which has also been analyzed by CrySys, a cryptography and system security lab at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

    Skywiper, as CrySys calls the virus, may have been active for as long as five to eight years. It uses five encryption methods, three compression techniques and at least five file formats. Its means of gathering intelligence include logging keyboard strokes, activating microphones to record conversations and taking screen shots, CrySys reported.

    It is also the first identified virus that is able to use Bluetooth wireless technology to send and receive commands and data, [said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior researcher with Kaspersky Labs, a Russian cybersecurity firm.]

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