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Iran Says It’s Produced Antivirus to Newly Detected Flame

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May 30 (Bloomberg) -- Iran says it has produced a tool to combat a newly detected virus that has been described as the most complex cyber menace to date.

Iran’s computer emergency response and coordination center produced an antivirus that can identify and remove the malicious software, Flame, the Persian Gulf country’s Information Technology Organization said on its website.

Iran, whose nuclear facilities and Oil Ministry have been the target of past virus attacks, has accused the U.S. and Israel of trying to sabotage its technological progress.

Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon told Israel’s Army Radio yesterday that it’s “reasonable that whoever sees the Iranian threat as significant would use various measures, including this, to hurt it.” He made the comments when asked about reports of a virus targeting Iranian computer systems.

The ITO’s statement yesterday didn’t specify whether Iran’s government computer systems had been harmed by the Flame virus.

The Moscow-based information-technology security company Kaspersky Lab said on its website earlier this week that the creators of Flame are seeking to collect information in some Middle Eastern countries including Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Israel as well as the Palestinian territories.

The software is a “highly sophisticated malicious program that is actively being used as a cyber-weapon” and can steal computer files, contact data and audio conversations, Kaspersky said. “Its complexity and functionality exceed those of all other cyber menaces known to date.”

The U.S. and Israel say Iran’s nuclear activities may have military intent. The Islamic republic denies that allegation, saying its program is aimed at generating power and for medical research.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at lnasseri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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