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Middle East gets Flame'd in cyberwarfare, round two
Not so long after Stuxnet was discovered in June 2010, another round of cyberwarfare attacks began in the Middle East. Dubbed "Flame" by the malware finder Kaspersky Lab, due to fragments of code noting the word in the source code, the sophisticated malware was about twenty-times the size of Stuxnet in file size and just as, if not even more dangerous.
It was thought to be targeting machines in Iran, the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, Sudan, Syria, and others in the region, and was far more sophisticated than Stuxnet in a number of ways. However, instead of targeting the physical infrastructure attached to the network, it was designed to steal data and collect audio and video content from webcams and microphones.
It was an intelligence-gathering piece of malware and clearly developed by a state-actor or government. But who exactly remain a mystery still.
Russia enacts Internet blacklist law
Soon after the Russian president Vladimir Putin was elected for another term, the Internet was high up on his agenda, including how to prevent ordinary people from rebelling by seeing dissidents' and protesters' Web sites, among other things.
It was designed as a Web blocking bill -- pornography, drug references and "extremist ideas," but it was ill defined and poorly written and could have given the Kremlin wide-ranging powers to block out vast swathes of the Russian Web. It was, in effect, no different from the U.K.'s Digital Economy Act or the SOPA bill that went before the U.S. House earlier in the year.
Ultimately it was passed by the country's Duma but with a number of clarifications and changes that allowed certain content to be blocked, but ultimately "harmful content" was defined properly in the act following widespread criticism that the ambiguous wording would give the judiciary and government powers that could block sites that it found politically undesirable.
DNSChanger, the 'Internet Armageddon': A busted flush?
DNSChanger was a worry for many, after the malware infected more than 45,000 machines around the world. It changed DNS settings on the infected computer in order to serve up adverts, which would then revenue for the malware writers. Though U.S. federal regulators discovered the malware, it was not immediately shut down. The whole thing had a 'Y2K feel' to it, meaning many would suddenly lose access to the Web once the malware network was shut down.
The FBI kept the machines going for a while so there would be no abrupt halt to Web access by those who were infected. Even social network Facebook and search giant Google notified users visiting their sites if they were infected with the malware. But once the FBI shut down the servers after months of warning, it turned out to be a "disaster" waiting to happen that never actually was.
It wasn't "Internet Armageddon," rather just a bad hair day for a few thousand.