The United States and Israel teamed up to design Flame, one of the nastiest computer viruses ever discovered in the wilds of the Internet, according to a report.
Flame, which is a highly sophisticated piece of malware that turns infected computers into listening machines, was designed to map out Iran's nuclear systems and spy on Iranian officials, according to "Western officials with knowledge of the effort," reports the Washington Post.
[More from Mashable: Webcam Spying Student Released From Jail After 20 Days]
Flame was designed to disguise itself as a commonplace Windows software update. Once infected, computers became sophisticated spying devices, sending data from hard drives, computer microphones, webcams and nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices such as mobile phones back to the malware's creator or creators.
[More from Mashable: Male-Dominated ‘Foreign Policy’ Twitterati List Sparks Controversy]
Flame was first detected by Kaspersky Lab, a Russian-based computer security firm, in May. Kaspersky's analysts said it could have been several years old, and experts said its complexity indicated it could have only been produced by a government or military.
Some observers believed that either the U.S. or Israel were involved in Flame's creation from an early point -- speculation that increased after a June New York Times report that the two countries were behind Stuxnet, which caused physical damage to an Iranian nuclear facility. Israel denied being involved with Flame earlier this month.
This story originally published on Mashable here.