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Saturday, September 25, 2010

From The "Please Let It Be True" Dept: Stuxnet Devouring 30,000 Iranian Computers

According to the website DEBKAfile, an Iranian official has acknowledged that some 30,000 Iranian industrial computers are infected with the Stuxnet malware:
Mahmoud Alyaee, secretary-general of Iran's industrial computer servers, including its nuclear facilities control systems, confirmed Saturday, Sept. 25, that 30,000 computers belonging to classified industrial units had been infected and disabled by the malicious Stuxnet virus....
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.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur has a similar report of the Iranian official's statement regarding the damage.  AP has a similar report about the infection, but not the report of damage:
Iranian media reports say the country's nuclear agency is trying to combat a complex computer worm that has affected industrial sites in Iran and is capable of taking over power plants.

The semi-official ISNA news agency says Iranian nuclear experts met this week to discuss how to remove the malicious computer code, dubbed Stuxnet, which can take over systems that control the inner workings of industrial plants.

Friday's report said the malware had spread throughout Iran, but did not elaborate. Foreign media reports have speculated the worm was aimed at disrupting Iran's first nuclear power plant, which is to go online in October.
More on Stuxnet here.

The interesting thing is that regardless of whether the Stuxnet infection actually causes damage, it will have the Iranians worried that at any moment their nuclear systems may shut down, blow up, or otherwise self-destruct.  That fear in and of itself may delay the program.

Update:  ComputerWorld quotes an Iranian official as saying 30,000 IP addresses were affected which means that the total number of computers infected would be much higher.
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  1. Ah! It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch!

  2. In 1982 a massive explosion occurred in a gas pipeline in Siberia. It may or may not have been caused by a worm planted by the CIA in stolen software.


  3. zerohedge.com posted an interesting article on this.


    Good for Israel if they did have the expertise to do this.

  4. Oh those zany crazy Jews! Anything for a laugh.

    (Of course, it couldn't be those Russians or Chinese government hackers.)

  5. Tim

    According to the article you cited, Iran runs its nuclear facilities on Windows(!!!???)

    Makes you wonder just how many more trojans and viruses have been introduced. And how many militarized botnets have been setup for general DDOS and penetration efforts.

  6. Outstanding! Now is it Israel or is it Russia? I consider Russia because how else could they take Iran's money and still keep Iran's nuclear ambitions thwarted?

    Either way, kudos to someone.

  7. Isn't a vivid imagination a wonderful thing?

    For instance, I'm imagining the power-up of the nuclear reactor:
    10% -OK;
    20% -OK,
    30% -OK;
    on up to 100% - still OK;
    then --oops-- 110% -error lights flash;
    120% - alarms!sirens!;
    then 150% - a big, beautiful blue flash, a boom, and suddenly silence - and melted glass as far as the eye can see.

    Ahhh, if only.

  8. I've read rumors that Bushehr still hasn't started producing electricity. Could it be that this bug has already done its job?

  9. I vote the Israelis as the masterminds behind this. Too elegant and effective for our own services: plus, The One would veto any such plan as too 'confrontational'.
    Well done, gentlemen, whoever you are. May it be so.

  10. How sweet it is!

    I hope it is the Israelis who have done this. The world has been expecting the Israelis to bomb Iran; instead, this very elegant and extremely satisfying attack has created much more damage, left the people of Iran uninjured, and slapped ham and eggs in the face of Ahmadman and the mad mullahs. Sweet!

    Even sweeter is the Iranians lack of know-how to counter Stuxnet. They need the hated "infidel" to combat it, and a good "infidel" would take their money and mask Stuxnet.

  11. I would bet on the Israelis as well. It's no secret that our the DOD is failing miserably in the world of cyber warfare.

  12. My bet's on Israel, too (bravo to them!). They have some of the world's smartest code slingers, so they have the means. The motive's pretty obvious and Windows provides the opportunity. I'm also betting that we'll never know who did it, ever.(Tough to collect on a bet like that.)