By Guy Azriel reporting from Jerusalem
Israel's Vice Prime Minister suggested Tuesday that his country has the capabilities to develop malware capable of attacking sophisticated computer systems, but would not confirm whether Israel has any role in the newly revealed “Flame” malware that has been infecting computers in the region, with Iran seeming to be a main target.
(Watch the video above for a good explanation of the Flame threat)
Speaking to Israeli Army radio, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon said “Israel is blessed to be a nation possessing superior technology. In that respect our achievements open up all sorts of opportunities for us."
“Whoever sees the Iranian threat as a serious threat, not just for Israel, but the entire western world led by the United States would be likely to make use all possible means, including these in order to hurt them," said Yaalon, a former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, when asked about Israel’s involvement in cyber warfare activity.
Professor Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, the head of Israel's National Council for Research and Development and a former Israeli military general involved in weapons development, told CNN he does not believe Israel was involved in creating the “Flame” malware.
“The report has much to suggest that Israel is not related to the Flame infection,” Ben Yisrael commented. “The programming language and the algorithms are different from those of previous attacks on Iranian computers. Anyone interested in Middle East intelligence could be involved in this."
Ben Yisrael noted that Israel itself is victim to an incredible number of computer viruses, saying the numbers rank it second to Iran in terms of infections, but that does not mean the country is behind the virus.
Flame "collects intelligence, not just files but also sound from microphones, Skype calls and keyboard typing. It saves the data and sends it to dozens of servers around the world. This type of cyber war has a problem of attribution, it impossible to track the source of the infection," he noted.