Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th May 2012 23:32 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption "A massive, highly sophisticated piece of malware has been newly found infecting systems in Iran and elsewhere and is believed to be part of a well-coordinated, ongoing, state-run cyberespionage operation. The malware, discovered by Russia-based anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab, is an espionage toolkit that has been infecting targeted systems in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, the Israeli Occupied Territories and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa for at least two years. Dubbed 'Flame' by Kaspersky, the malicious code dwarfs Stuxnet in size." Since I'm not particularly well-versed in the subject, maybe someone can answer this question for me: if country A creates a malware infection like this to spy on and/or harm computers in country B, can it be construed as an act of war under existing international law?
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speaking of flames ...
by seanpk on Tue 29th May 2012 01:26 UTC
seanpk
Member since:
2009-11-17

I'm pretty sure, whatever laws may be "on the books", the precident i such that if the agressing country is the US, or one of its client states, it is not an act of war. Interestingly, it is no longer an act of war for the governments of the countries being attacted this time to respond in kind. That would be an act of terrorism.

(sorry for using the 'T' word, they'll probably be confiscating your domain soon.)

Reply Score: 8

RE: speaking of flames ...
by Hypnos on Tue 29th May 2012 02:09 UTC in reply to "speaking of flames ..."
Hypnos Member since:
2008-11-19

Dude, America is exceptional -- didn't you get the memo?

Reply Score: 8

Israel
by gan17 on Tue 29th May 2012 02:46 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

Your article mentions Israeli Occupied Territories specifically. That region plus all (or most) of the other affected countries seem to be anti-Israel, or at least have factions (ie Hamas) that are.

So it's probably a no-brainer that the malware was created and deployed by the Israelis, unless of course the article (and Kapersky) wants to misdirect everyone.

Not quite sure whether it's considered an act of cyber-warfare or cyber-terrorism. Depends on which side of the fence you sit. Some would call it a form of intelligence-gathering or whatever.

Better than hearing news of civilian casualties, that's for sure.... though this might eventually lead to that anyway.

Anyhooz, Mossad/CIA forces are gonna come and kill me now, so it's been good knowing y'all.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Israel
by snfgd on Tue 29th May 2012 06:15 UTC in reply to "Israel"
snfgd Member since:
2012-04-23

Your article mentions Israeli Occupied Territories specifically. That region plus all (or most) of the other affected countries seem to be anti-Israel, or at least have factions (ie Hamas) that are.

So it's probably a no-brainer that the malware was created and deployed by the Israelis...


Well jeez, that's all the evidence I need. It must have been Israel. :-P

If the worm's distribution is intentional (which it may not be) it seems to be targeting places where Islamism is most influential. Plenty of nations/regimes/organisation are opposed to Islamism, and it could be any one of them.

The worm doesn't look very professional from what I can tell, so personally I would be pointing fingers at one of the Arab dictatorships before Israel. But really, it's impossible to tell at this point. And Kaspersky isn't known for giving the most reliable reports anyway.

Edited 2012-05-29 06:16 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Israel
by Oren156b on Tue 29th May 2012 10:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Israel"
Oren156b Member since:
2012-05-29

Netanyahu's deputy pretty much admits that Israel is behind this:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-deputy-hint...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Israel
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 30th May 2012 04:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Israel"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Its always been in Israel's best interests to always seem stronger and smarter than everyone else. The more their neighbors believe it and fear Israel, the less likely they are to mess with Israel.

They probably only do half of what they hint that they did.

I think its an Elon Musk/ Mark Shuttleworth/Mark Cuban style Billionaire with an agenda that aligns with a nation state like Israel/US. I do think the information is going to some of the same countries, regardless. They probably know how the information is being gathered, but the situation allows a level of aloofness about the particulars.

Reply Score: 2

International Law?
by JeeperMate on Tue 29th May 2012 02:47 UTC
JeeperMate
Member since:
2010-06-12

There's no such thing as international law. Any and every kind of 'law' that spans national borders are nothing more than conventions and agreements (pacts, treaties, etc.) -- note that the former doesn't involve written documents whereas the latter does, even though they're treated equally. That's it. There's nothing that legally binds anyone. Contrast that to national laws; I never signed any legal documents pertaining to public laws, but I'm legally bound to whatever law that applies in my country.

At the end of the day, international 'law' is dictated by whoever has the biggest stick and most delicious carrots to offer. One must be very naive to believe the opposite is true.

Reply Score: 3

RE: International Law?
by judgen on Tue 29th May 2012 11:19 UTC in reply to "International Law?"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

Even if your country is not a signatory of the geneva protocols (not to be confused with the geneva convention) And you were to use certain types of warfare and you are captured, you will be tried and if prooven guilty punished by "international" law offices based in the Haag for war crimes and/or crimes agains humanity. But most countries are indeed singnatories of the protocols.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 29th May 2012 04:50 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

espionage happens 24/7

something is only an act of war of the politicians deem it politically beneficial to call it so

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by Luminair
by cyrilleberger on Tue 29th May 2012 05:25 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
cyrilleberger Member since:
2006-02-01

something is only an act of war of the politicians deem it politically beneficial to call it so


Exactly, not counting that if the country controlling the botnet is Israel, then most (all?) of the countries listed are actually already in a state of war with Israel.

But yes, act of war is the name you give to a pretext to retaliate against a country you wanted to attack anyway.

Reply Score: 3

Using the software of the enemy?
by Nth_Man on Tue 29th May 2012 06:45 UTC
Nth_Man
Member since:
2010-05-16

can it be construed as an act of war?


From the article:
Also, like Stuxnet, Flame has the ability to spread by infecting USB sticks using the autorun and .lnk vulnerabilities that Stuxnet used. It also uses the same print spooler vulnerability that Stuxnet used to spread to computers on a local network.


The malware has the ability to infect a fully patched Windows 7 computer, which suggests that there may be a zero-day exploit in the code that the researchers have not yet found.

What was Iran thinking when they were using the software of the enemy?
How many (intentional or unintentional) "bugs" are left that allow remote control for computers in Iran?

Reply Score: 3

Loreia Member since:
2012-01-17

What was Iran thinking when they were using the software of the enemy?
How many (intentional or unintentional) "bugs" are left that allow remote control for computers in Iran?


This is the key question. Why would they use MS Windows for anything important?

I mean, use windows on your gaming rig, and custom Linux distribution on computers that control sensitive industrial/military equipment.

Reply Score: 4

phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

While I agree there are some manufacturers that don't release Linux drivers. For example, I typed PC Data Acquisition into the Google and my first result was a USB device with only Windows drivers.

Personally I think that if you are going to use Windows or need to use Windows for driver support, glue the USB ports shut, put it on a network physically not connected to any internet facing network, take out the DVD/CD Rom drive, and then assume it is compromised and leaking data.

Reply Score: 2

Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

Let's remind that Windows is made by Microsoft, and they must obey the US government.

If they are required to "leave a back-door" like the "bugs" that caused Stuxnet, Flame, etc... Microsoft will obey or face jail.

Reply Score: 2

Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

Um, how do you jail a corporation?

Reply Score: 2

Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

The rulers of a corporation will finally go to jail if they don't obey what the U.S. government says. Apart from that, if you are a worker, you must follow U.S. laws.

As a known example, if you work in a company there are some particular things that you must follow, related to Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, etc.
http://www.bis.doc.gov/licensing/tsranexpenhanceactfactsheet122101....
http://export.stanford.edu/country.html

Of course, you can receive special visits from the authorities and be told not to disclose it. If a U.S. person does not follow those orders then it's a punishable crime.

Edited 2012-05-30 07:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Act Of War
by adinas on Tue 29th May 2012 10:12 UTC
adinas
Member since:
2005-08-17

I'm pretty sure Iran's training and arming of terrorists throughout the Middle East (Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen - countries in which actual innocent civilians were murdered by Iranian made munitions) would have a better chance of constituting an act of war than a virus.
And I still can't figure out why European's hatred of America and Israel makes them side with those who openly state death to all non Muslims and the objective of turning Europe into a Sharia governed Caliphate.

Edited 2012-05-29 10:12 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE: Act Of War
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 29th May 2012 10:18 UTC in reply to "Act Of War"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

And I still can't figure out why European's hatred of America and Israel makes them side with those who openly state death to all non Muslims and the objective of turning Europe into a Sharia governed Caliphate.


...wat?

I dislike all acts of aggression, and let's face it, us westerners don't have a particularly clean track record there. How many nations has Iran invaded?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Act Of War
by adinas on Tue 29th May 2012 12:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Act Of War"
adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

I didn't say Iran invaded anyone (though Iran's Hezbollah militia have taken over Lebanon effectively making it occupied Iranian territory). Iran does arm Shiite groups throughout the Middle East who do carry out attacks on Sunni civilians.

Where in Western countries like the U.S. there is at least an internal debate on how moral their actions are and no intentional killing of civilians, Iran officially supports the spread of Shiite beliefs through violence against civilians. And this is what give the U.S. the moral high ground.

Edited 2012-05-29 12:18 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Act Of War
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 29th May 2012 12:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Act Of War"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Right, saying "we don't want to kill civilians" yet still be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of them this past decade alone makes it alright.

Amazing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Act Of War
by adinas on Tue 29th May 2012 12:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Act Of War"
adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

hundreds of thousands? seriously?

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Act Of War
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 29th May 2012 12:35 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Act Of War"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

http://www.iraqbodycount.org/

And that's just Iraq. Had the west not invaded Afghanistan and Iraq under false pretence - mysteriously, nobody has been brought before courts in The Hague yet for that one - 99.9% of those people would be alive today.

But hey, we never intended to kill them, so that makes it all okay, right?

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Act Of War
by adinas on Tue 29th May 2012 12:46 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Act Of War"
adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

oh come on! Those people were killed by the U.S.?!
The 179 civilians killed in May (according to your link) where killed by U.S. troops?

A Shiite Arab person detonating an Iranian supplied bomb killing 50 Sunni Arabs is America's fault? seriously? America educated these people to murder each other the minute Saddam Husein's regime was toppled?

You can say America should have known better that these Arabs would start murdering each other the minute they got a chance but you know perfectly well the last thing America wanted after invading Iraq was to have bloodshed. They just couldn't control the blood thirst the indigenous population has.

Edited 2012-05-29 12:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Act Of War
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 29th May 2012 12:51 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Act Of War"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Right, because invading someone else's country usually turns out so well. Thom Top Tip: don't attack other countries under false pretence and kill the people living there. You'd think Vietnam would've been a good enough lesson to respect other nations's and people's rights, but alas, I'm guessing you're proud of that as well.

God you're naive.

Edited 2012-05-29 12:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Act Of War
by Bounty on Tue 29th May 2012 16:01 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Act Of War"
Bounty Member since:
2006-09-18

http://www.iraqbodycount.org/

And that's just Iraq. Had the west not invaded Afghanistan and Iraq under false pretence - mysteriously, nobody has been brought before courts in The Hague yet for that one - 99.9% of those people would be alive today.

But hey, we never intended to kill them, so that makes it all okay, right?


I'm going to get very sarcastic here, and I don't mean it to be insulting, but it should serve as a contrasting example of what you and that website are insinuating.

This just in, Saddam Hussein has apparently never killed anyone, and never would have. The Kurds were actually living in paradise. Harmony has flowed across the middle east all these thousands of years. There was was no in-progress civil war in Iraq, stifled by mass executions of civilians by the government. W/O the US, nobody in the middle east would ever have commited violence against someone else.

I apologize for the hyberbole, but you get what you bring to an argument like this. I personally have been against the Iraq war (pro-Afghan war), however I have to admit, in the long run it's probably saved lives. It was not our problem to solve though, and we were arrogant for fixing some of their mess.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Act Of War
by M.Onty on Tue 29th May 2012 12:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Act Of War"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

... responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of them this past decade ...


Which hundreds of thousands would these be?

Edit:
You've replied above already.

On Iraq, the coalition is responsible for creating the chaotic conditions which murderous regional factions used to slaughter each other and innocents. Thats dangerous fat-headedness, whereas being "responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands" sounds too much like genocide.

Edited 2012-05-29 12:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Act Of War
by Loreia on Tue 29th May 2012 13:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Act Of War"
Loreia Member since:
2012-01-17

...And this is what give the U.S. the moral high ground.


No, it gives them only a cheap justification.

P.S.
I kind of thought this would be about computer virus, not politics.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Act Of War
by adinas on Tue 29th May 2012 13:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Act Of War"
adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

It's called the Flame virus because it causes flame wars ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Act Of War
by Soulbender on Tue 29th May 2012 23:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Act Of War"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Where in Western countries like the U.S. there is at least an internal debate on how moral their actions are and no intentional killing of civilians


Iran Air Flight 655.
Yeah, that's some moral high ground. Funny how you seem to think you're above accepting responsibility for your screwups.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Act Of War
by adinas on Wed 30th May 2012 06:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Act Of War"
adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

I don't see the point in arguing with someone who can't tell the difference between the accidental killing of civilians that no one wanted and everyone regrets versus the deliberate education, advocation and celebration of the murder of civilians (Google "gaza celebrate 9 11" for an example).

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Act Of War
by oinet on Wed 30th May 2012 14:09 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Act Of War"
oinet Member since:
2010-03-23

How do you know it was an accident no one wanted ? are you psychic ? Why were those directly responsible hailed as heroes and given medals. What kind of state hails incompetent morons killing civilians in passenger plane for heroism ? Your silly excuses stopped making sense many posts ago already.

Now I'll bring up Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Let the excuse-fest begin (continue) !

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Act Of War
by adinas on Thu 31st May 2012 08:27 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Act Of War"
adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

Simple. You could either kill 246,000 (high estimate) Japanese with nuclear bombs or have millions killed (Many of which would be American soldiers) in a war that would last years more.

What is worse? X deaths by nuclear bomb or X^2 deaths by conventional warfare?

I can understand why Europeans today who hate America would prefer that so many more of them die but obviously America chooses less casualties.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Act Of War
by oinet on Thu 31st May 2012 13:40 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Act Of War"
oinet Member since:
2010-03-23

Simple.

Your intellect, selfishness, and poor deception attempts (blame your intellect), yes.

You could either kill 246,000 (high estimate) Japanese with nuclear bombs or have millions killed (Many of which would be American soldiers) in a war that would last years more.

What is worse? X deaths by nuclear bomb or X^2 deaths by conventional warfare?

I'd say your brand new prophet ;)
Justifying mass murder with theories and scare tactics only serves to expose you for who and what you really are.

I can understand why Europeans today who hate America would prefer that so many more of them die but obviously America chooses less casualties.

Attention Europeans, attentioooon !!! you are all gonna die, DIE, that's D-I-E, which is the opposite of live, LIVE, that's L-I-V-E. If you don't help adina and his little terro....errr piece keeping companions with high moral (in desperate need of new Samsung phones and new Hyundai cars), then that's exactly what's gonna happen. Hyundai or DIEEEEE !!!

Edited 2012-05-31 13:41 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Act Of War
by phoehne on Tue 29th May 2012 23:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Act Of War"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

Iraq. They fought a bloody, ghastly war for something like 10 years. In that time they tried to shut down the Persian gulf by threatening to shot anti-ship missiles into vessels.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Act Of War
by Soulbender on Tue 29th May 2012 10:59 UTC in reply to "Act Of War"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I'm pretty sure Iran's training and arming of terrorists throughout the Middle East (Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen - countries in which actual innocent civilians were murdered by Iranian made munitions


Remind me again; who armed bin-laden, the contras and numerous other "freedom fighters" (aka people who serve our business interests) across the globe?
How many innocents do you think American weapons have killed?

And I still can't figure out why European's hatred of America and Israel


Don't be silly, we don't hate you. We just find your self-importance and arrogance incredibly annoying (yet hilarious).

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Act Of War
by adinas on Tue 29th May 2012 12:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Act Of War"
adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

Maybe you should think about who wants to KILL YOU, Right now, at this moment because you don't share their religious views and then decide who you want to bash at every chance.

Hint: It isn't America, Israel or their citizens.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Act Of War
by pashar on Tue 29th May 2012 13:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Act Of War"
pashar Member since:
2006-07-12

Don't be silly, we don't hate you. We just find your self-importance and arrogance incredibly annoying (yet hilarious).


It comes from experience.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by M.Onty
by M.Onty on Tue 29th May 2012 12:31 UTC
M.Onty
Member since:
2009-10-23

... can it be construed as an act of war under existing international law?


I'm not sure there's any such thing. Its more of a national perogative.

Reply Score: 1