(WASHINGTON) — What appears to be a routine Microsoft update is in reality malware meant to cripple Iran’s nuclear program.
U.S. and Western officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post that the computer virus called Flame, which came to light last month when it turned up in cyber attacks on Iran’s oil industry, was developed together by the U.S. and Israel.
Officials say Flame was designed to gather intelligence in anticipation of a campaign to affect Iran’s uranium enrichment program, a key step in producing a nuclear arsenal.
While the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel are all declining comment, Flame is thought to be the most sophisticated attempt yet at cyber-sabotage launched by the U.S. in collaboration with an ally.
It remains unclear, however, when an actual cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear program or critical infrastructure systems might be implemented.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ashley Fantz, AnneClaire Stapleton and Ed Payne, CNN Newswire