The Flame malware that attacked Iranian government computer systems and that first came to light in May appears to have been created by the same authors of the infamous Stuxnet attack.
The link was discovered by security firm Kaspersky, with researcher Alexander Gostev confirming in a blog post that the firm had found a link between the two, despite having originally said the variants appeared unconnected.
"It turns out we were wrong in that we believed Flame and Stuxnet were two unrelated projects. Our research unearthed some previously unknown facts that completely transform the current view of how Stuxnet was created and its link with Flame," he said
"The new findings that reveal how the teams shared source code of at least one module in the early stages of development prove that the groups cooperated at least once. What we have found is very strong evidence that Stuxnet/Duqu and Flame cyber-weapons are connected".
The revelation suggests the US and Israel are definitely behind the major malware attacks that targeted Iran, coming as revelations also emerged in the last few weeks that president Obama had ordered an increase in the US's cyberwar capabilities since coming to office.
The Kaspersky blog explains in detail that despite the complex differences between the two variants, there were some similarities so intertwined its systems had classified them as Stuxnet.
"In October 2010, our automatic system received a sample from the wild. It analysed the file thoroughly and classified it as a new Stuxnet variant. Sadly, it didn't look like Stuxnet at all, so we decided to rename it to Tocy.a," wrote Gostev.
"When Flame was discovered in 2012, we started looking for older samples that we might have received. Between samples that looked almost identical to Flame, we found Tocy.a."
Gostev explains the firm was confused by this but realised that its automatic detection system had found an element of the Flame system within Stuxnet.
"Checking the logs, we discovered that the Tocy.a, an early module of Flame, was actually similar to 'resource 207' from Stuxnet. It was actually so similar, that it made our automatic system classify it as Stuxnet," he said.
"This is how we discovered the incredible link between Flame and Stuxnet."
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