The cyber warfare arena is heating up, with both the US and Israel admitting that they’ve used military malware, and mystery still shrouding the origin of the new Flame attacks.

Yesterday, a statement on the Israeli military’s web site revealed that cyber warfare was part of the Israeli Defence Force’s (IDF’s) strategy.

“The IDF has been engaged in cyberactivity consistently and relentlessly,” said the statement, adding that cyberspace was used for intelligence gathering – and could be used “to execute attacks” and “clandestine” operations.

Meanwhile, a report in the New York Times details how the US has used attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities – initiating the Stuxnet attacks that came to light last year.

Stuxnet was apparently developed by the US and Israel.

The newly-discovered Flame code is believed to have been in the wild for about five years, and thus pre-dates Stuxnet.

Flame is designed to carry out cyber espionage by stealing images, audio conversations and other data, targeting computers running Window. It is believed to be spread via infected thumb drives, websites and manipulated e-mails.

According to Kaspersky Lab, most of the infections ahve been found in Iran, but also in Israel and the Palestinian territories.