If you watch CBS’ 60 Minutes or follow any reliable and responsible news outlet, you will have heard of the Stuxnet worm which bedeviled Iran’s uranium centrifuges a while back. The Ars Technica website recently confirmed that Stuxnet was a joint venture involving both the US and Israel. This worm consisted of 500K of code and took the Kaspersky organisation several months to analyse.

Well, there’s a new kid on the block named “Flame” and he weighs in at 20 Megabytes of code. Kaspersky estimates that Flame will require at least a year for a through analysis. Like Stuxnet, Flame appears to be the project of some nation-state.

Both Stuxnet and Flame have been around a while with the latter being first identified in the wild back in 2010. While Apple is not considered to be a nation-state – yet – Flame does attack the defences of  its biggest rival, Microsoft, by targeting its Update System. This time around, you won’t have to be operating a host of uranium centrifuges out in the garage in order to be vulnerable. Flame has the potential to be an equal opportunity virus by using Microsoft Update as a malware delivery system.

Microsoft has issued a warning as well as a security patch. IT Professionals have been advised to start applying this patch immediately. Ordinary blokes like you and me should run Microsoft Update early and often to make sure that this patch has been applied. In other words, don’t put it off.

Some years ago, the mailing list for a Scottish society in Washington, DC was being turned into a spam machine by at least one person on that list. After a bit of detective work, the issue was traced to one member who had not applied any MS security updates – ever – because that sort of thing just wasn’t for him. Dr. Data advises one and all to apply their security updates as soon as the announcement shows up on your PC. Remember, cyber security is everyone’s business.

For more Flame’in information, have a look at PCWorld and Tech Republic.

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