Monday, January 17, 2011

Warning Virus Stuxnet Attacking

Warning Virus Stuxnet Attacking -  The Stuxnet cyberweapon damaged about one-tenth of the centrifuges at the Iran nuclear facility near Natanz, says a report by a watchdog group. A critical security flaw in supervisory-control-and-data-acquisition (SCADA) systems used in China raises the possibility of another Stuxnet-like attack.

The New York Times reported rather conclusively on Saturday that the super-advanced computer virus that has at least partially crippled Iran’s nuclear program was developed and tested by Israel, with American involvement.

Known as Stuxnet, the virus was first identified “in the wild” about two years ago. About one year ago, it infected the computers that control the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz in central Iran. By all accounts, Stuxnet has to date managed to knock out 984 centrifuges and has, according to Israeli officials, set back Iran’s nuclear program by a good three-to-four years.

According to the report, the idea for the virus was birthed after Israel requested bombs and a green light from the US to launch a military assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Told that such an assault would not end Iran’s nuclear program, but merely set it back by several years, former US President George W. Bush said no.

Iran is apparently using centrifuges modeled on the now-archaic designs of Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan. America had gotten its hands on a large stockpile of these centrifuges when Libya dismantled its nuclear program in 2003, but US and British engineers failed to get the things to operate in a stable manner.

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