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Who's Behind Virus Attack on Iranian Nuclear Plant?

Published: October 5th 2010
in News » World

Bushehr nuclear plant, Iran

Stuxnet, which some information security specialists believe to be the most advanced virus ever created, appears to be focusing its attack on Iranian massive industry corporations and mega infrastructures, including the Iranian notorious nuclear plants. Now, Iran is finger- pointing at the West, including the pentagon, and leading intelligence agencies such as Germany’s, and possibly Israeli cyber-warfare units as well.


The Stuxnet, malware worm seems to be designed specific ally for industrious systems, differentiating between industrial computers "without human assistance,” according to German researcher Ralph Langner. "Stuxnet is the key for a very specific lock, in fact, there is only one lock in the world that it will open. The whole attack is not at all about stealing data but about manipulation of a specific industrial process at a specific moment in time. This is not generic. It is about destroying that process,” said Langer.


According to the Mehr News Agency, however, an Iranian source, the worm has a different purpose and is "designed to transfer data about production lines from our industrial plants to (locations) outside of the country.”


Alyaee, secretary-general of Iran’s industrial computer servers, including its nuclear facilities control systems, confirmed Saturday, September 25th, that some 30,000 computers belonging to classified industrial units had been infected and disabled by the malicious Stuxnet virus.


This followed DEBKAfile’s (a non official news agency) exclusive report Thursday, September 23rd, from its Washington and defense sources that "a covert cyber war is being fought against Iran by the United States with elite cyber war units established by Israel.”


Stuxnet is believed to be the most destructive virus ever devised for attacking major industrial complexes, reactors and infrastructure. The experts say it is beyond the capabilities of private or individual hackers and could have been produced by a high-tech state like America or Israel, or its military cyber specialists.


Nevertheless, the Iranians are claiming that they are "successfully battling" this cyber attack, which may cripple the Bushehr nuclear plant. This nuclear facility, which is Russian-built but has Siemens computer systems, is allegedly being used to enrich uranium for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The international community considers Iran's atomic bomb ambitions as one of the biggest risks to world peace and stability in the Middle-East in particular.


The Pentagon is being accused of working with its Western partner, the German intelligence services, to create the Stuxnet virus. The Germans could have reportedly provided data about Siemens' computers, which could have been the key to develop the worm. But, Israel is not left out of the picture and many voices over the world say Israel could be involved. Some voices, particularly in the Islamic Republic of Iran and other Islamic countries call to strike back at Israel, which is a natural candidate when it comes to matters of strategic threats to Iran.


However, the Pentagon's spokesman Colonel David Lapan said the Department of Defense can "neither confirm nor deny" reports that it launched this attack, a comment that in the past has been reserved for many actions it was allegedly responsible for.

Related articles: (Bushehr, nuclear plant, Iran, virus, Stuxnet)
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