Yesterday, the French newsmagazine l'Express claimed that French government cybersecurity experts have concluded that the U.S. government used malware resembling Flame to surreptitiously enter “the computers of several close advisers to then-president Nicolas Sarkozy—including Chief of Staff Xavier Musca,” The Hill reported.
The White House has so far refused to comment on the l’Express story, as has the Palais de l' Elysées.
According to the l’Express, the cyberattack happened shortly before the second round of the French presidential elections in May in which the conservative Sarkozy lost to socialist candidate Francois Hollande.
The l’Express article, which details how the break-in occurred, indicates that the Sarkozy’s advisors’ computers were hacked via phishing emails.
The Hill article says that U.S. Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano “reportedly did not deny the allegations when asked point-blank about them” by l’Express.
Napolitano also stated in the article that neither the Flame nor Stuxnet had “never been linked to the U.S. government.” Hmm, I guess that all depends on what the definition of “linked” means.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.