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Egypt studying 'Flame' virus damage, says internet security czar

Malware is unlikely to affect Egyptian telecoms networks but a full study on its effects is being prepared, according to ministry

Ahram Online , Thursday 31 May 2012
Flame virus
Egyptian ministry is studying the situation to determine risks (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian cybersecurity officials are studying the possible effects of the recently discovered 'Flame' virus, a programme seemingly designed to steal computer data.

Sherif Hashem, senior adviser to Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said the ministry is studying reports published by reputable digital security firms to understand the risks local computer users may be facing.
Hashem said it was unlikely, however, that the virus will seriously affect Egyptian or regional telecoms networks.
The ministry's announcement follows reports of the malware's presence in computer networks across the Middle East, including in Egypt.
Infections have also been reported in the Palestinian West Bank, Iran, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, in addition to Austria, Russia, Hong Kong and Hungary.
Flame is described as a tool for exploiting networks and retrieving information  – including keystrokes and frame-grabs – from remote sources. Security researchers are still in the process of calculating its full capabilities.
The virus has smoldered undetected for years in Middle Eastern energy facilities, AFP reported. The malware is also able to use machines' Bluetooth capabilities to connect with smartphones or tablets, searching contact lists, it added.
Hashem said that Egypt's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and other state agencies are carrying out researching to prepare a report on Flame's status in Egypt -- a process that may take many weeks.
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