Flame malware – The biggest? The baddest? A little perspective

The media has gone crazy about the Flame worm which has been seen infecting computers in the Middle East (Iran, in particular).

Are the news headlines doing a good job of educating the public about the seriousness of the incident, however?

Flame has been called “the most complex threat”, the world’s “most sophisticated cyber weapon”, and we’ve even been told it’s “much bigger than Stuxnet”.

But what does that actually mean?

Yes, Flame is bigger than Stuxnet. If you’re counting bytes.

Flame, with all of its modules and libraries, can come in at close to 20MBytes. That’s about 40 times larger than Stuxnet – which was itself portly by malware standards. So, yes, Flame is much bigger.

But my guess is that number of bytes wasn’t what you were thinking of when you read the headline.

After all, as we should always remind ourselves, size doesn’t matter. What matters to most computer users…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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