While routinely touting the necessity for tighter controls over the Internet in the name of cybersecurity, the U.S. government has again been caught creating computer viruses to wage cyber warfare in the Middle East.
Researchers working for both Kaspersky and Symantec have separately discovered that the United States is almost certainly responsible for three new viruses that are being used in Lebanon and Iran to conduct espionage, having already been identified as the culprits behind the 2010 Stuxnet virus and this year’s closely related Flame virus.
Kaspersky and Symantec experts are still unsure as to what the newly discovered viruses are designed to do, but have confirmed that they are operating in the Middle East, including Iran and Lebanon, and that the, “approach to uploading packages and downloading data fits the profile of military and/or intelligence operations.”
The new viruses, programs code-named SP, SPE and IP, use malware packages that try to “communicate with command and control servers.” The new viruses could be offshoots of the Flame virus or completely different pieces of software.
“The findings are likely to bolster a growing view that the U.S. government is using cyber technology more widely than previously believed to further its interests in the Middle East,” reports Haaretz.
“The United States has already been linked to the Stuxnet Trojan that attacked Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 and the sophisticated Flame cyber surveillance tool that was uncovered in May.”
As the Washington Post reported earlier this year, the United States and Israel were also responsible for jointly developing the Flame virus, a huge malware assault that monitored Iran’s computer networks.
Despite months of inaccurate speculation blaming Russia or China for the outbreak of the 2010 Stuxnet virus, it was eventually admitted by the New York Times that, “US and Israeli intelligence services collaborated to develop a destructive computer worm to sabotage Iran’s efforts to make a nuclear bomb.”
The U.S. government’s continual efforts to develop computer viruses as a tool of cyber warfare might be more palatable were it not for the constant push by the executive and legislative branches to censor and regulate the Internet domestically in the name of cybersecurity.
Urging President Obama last month to pass an executive order that critics have denounced as another federal power grab over the Internet, Senator Jay Rockefeller justified the EO by claiming it was needed “to protect this country from the cyber threat,” even as the U.S. simultaneously launches aggressive cyber warfare campaigns against other countries.
Indeed, viruses created by the United States and Israel have even been cited as proof that restrictive cyber security legislation needs to be rubber stamped – by the very same government allied with the intelligence networks creating the viruses.
As we reported back in 2011, despite initial evidence clearly indicating the U.S. and Israel were behind the Stuxnet attack, a fact that was subsequently confirmed, major news websites still parroted the official narrative that Russia or China were to blame, even going to the lengths of ridiculing anyone who suggested otherwise as paranoid conspiracy theorists.
While claiming that it needs more power over the world wide web to prevent the spread of hostile computer viruses that could cripple U.S. infrastructure and sensitive networks, the U.S. government itself is creating those very same computer viruses to spy on and attack infrastructure and sensitive networks in other countries.