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Iran and North Korea sign technology treaty to combat hostile malware

03 Sep 2012

Iran and North Korea have agreed to co-operate on matters of science and technology to help combat "common enemies" in the digital space, according to local Iranian news feeds.

Officially, the new agreement will see the the two countries co-operate in research, student exchanges and joint laboratories.

These joint projects will reportedly also include sharing information on issues around IT, engineering, biotechnology, renewable energy, the environment, sustainable development of agriculture and food technology.

This has led to concerns in some quarters over nuclear projects in the two countries.

Meanwhile, computer security experts have suggested the agreement could have wider implications for the IT community as the two nations team up to fend off the growing threat of hostile malware.

"It's highly likely that one of the reasons for this co-operation is for them to work together regarding their cyber defence and cyber offense strategies," F-Secure security chief Mikko Hypponen told V3.

Hypponen added that the agreement is likely a reaction to the slew of state sponsored cyber campaigns, like Flame, uncovered this year.

"Both of these countries have clear interest in improving their cyber capability. And both of them have massive armies. Iran and North Korea have both armies that are among the 10 largest in the world," he noted.

Hypponen had issued his own warning stating that Flame's arrival could have potentially disastrous implications in June, describing it as the "James Bond" of malware.

Flame was uncovered in early May and is believed to have been created by a nation state, most likely the US and Israel, to target Iranian government computer systems.

F-Secure listed malware like Flame as one of the biggest threats facing the security industry, suggesting cyber criminals will use them to develop and evolve their techniques, in its most recent biannual threat report.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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