During a press tour with Kaspersky Lab to Moscow, Russia, IT News Africa had a chance to sit down with the company’s co-founder Eugene Kaspersky. As part of the media delegation, each publication had one minute to ask one question, while Kaspersky had three minutes to answer it.
With Kaspersky Lab being the major Internet security company that discovered the highly-sophisticated Flame virus, it was only natural that we posed him the question:
“Since nobody publically wants to admit to it, who created the Flame virus?”
“No idea,” Kaspersky said while taking a pause. “We see only the technical part, and of course there are no stamps like ‘Made in USA’ or like that.” In a recent Ars Technical report, the publication quoted an analyst who said that the virus was created by the CIA, FBI and the Israeli government, but Kaspersky is not convinced.
“We don’t have any proof. That is the software, and in some cases it is actually very difficult to prove who is behind it. And maybe some people who wanted it to be known that they are behind it, they are not connected to that”.
“At the same time it is very easy to point the finger to somebody else. If you have someone who has the source code, the motivation and can prove it was done there, or is the result of police or international investigations, so they cornered the guy there.”
Kaspersky went on to explain that it is actually very difficult to track and trace the source of a malicious virus of malware.
“If you remember, there was a huge botnet called Conficker which infected 10-million computers, and there were some very professional guys behind it. We were very interested in who they were. We had no idea, not even about nation. And there was just a very small hint that they might have been Ukrainians, because one of the versions of the key didn’t infect Ukrainian localisations. So there was only one hint – and we were right. Police finally arrested the guys in Kiev.
But we had the proof that they were Ukrainians only when they were arrested. So before that, it’s only speculation.”
Circling back to the original question, Kaspersky made up his short-list of candidates who has the capability of actually creating the Flame virus.
“I have a list of sources who are not responsible for it. First, my company. Second, I’m pretty sure that there is a very small list of countries that is able to sponsor such a development: USA, Western Europe, Russia, Israel, India, China, Korean, Japan and Australia. These countries have enough resources and knowledge to do that. But not the rest of the world,” Kaspersky concluded in allotted three minutes he had to answer a question.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor