“…… even after Tehran has a clue what’s going on, they have little chance to protect themselves from follow-up attacks.
“Myrtus” [code name for “Stuxnet”] is the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) executed by a cyber superpower. Tehran should consider if it isn’t outright silly to attempt withstanding this threat. In the moment when they will have cleaned up all systems, a new dropper exploiting new Windows 0day vulnerabilities will likely be underway already. Maintenance in Natanz will have an even bigger problem in figuring out whether the latest rotor cracks and poor LEU outputs are due to defect components, operator inability, or Stuxnet 2.0. The cyberwar nightmare for Tehran may have only just begun.”
Since the time that Stuxnet was identified as an agent of “cyber-warfare” being conducted against Iran, Langner has known, more than anyone in the world, what the extremely malicious bug was capable of doing to Iran’s nuclear weapons development. He has published reports analyzing the virus’ operations.
The most important Stuxnet news in this cycle is what is coming out from the Russian engineers who are assisting Iran’s nuclear “start-up.” They say a disastrous “nuclear melt-down” is possible due to the damage caused by the Stuxnet worm. Perhaps they are acutely aware of Mr. Langner’s “Stuxnet 2.0” lurking in the machines?
More on that below.
The Sunday NY Times quotes “sources” who say the plot to create a computer virus was hatched in 2007. Malicious computer code was “tested” at the Dimona nuclear power plant in Israel’s Negev desert, after Israel acquired centrifuges similar to those in Iran.
According to various analyses of Stuxnet’s code, the virus was designed to target systems that have a frequency converter, a type of device that controls the speed of a motor, like a centrifuge which spins around using a motor to enrich uranium. The virus then increases the motor speeds above the normal level, causing the centrifuges to break.
In 2008, also according to the Times, German company Siemens cooperated with the Idaho National Laboratory, helping it to identify problems in the company’s computer controllers, which are used in Iranian nuclear plants. The laboratory is part of the American Energy Department, which is responsible for nuclear weapons in the US.
The vulnerabilities identified in 2008 were used the following year by Stuxnet, said the report.
Additionally, Stuxnet was developed by the US and Israel, with help of Berlin and London, who may not be aware of the parts they played. Former US president George W. Bush reportedly authorized the program in January 2009, and President Barack Obama, with Israel’s encouragement, ordered its acceleration.
A Washington official told the Times that rather than allow Israel to attack Iran, the US wanted “to put time on the clock... and now, we have a bit more.” Also Sunday, Norway’s Aftenposten revealed American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks which show that despite tightening sanctions, Iran has continued covert attempts to purchase technology for its nuclear program through more than 350 companies.
According to the cables, Iran tried several times in 2008 and 2009 to buy uranium, computers and control systems required to run nuclear facilities.
“A race exists between the bomb and financial collapse,” the daily cited a cable quoting a French nuclear expert.
The U.K. Telegraph carries the very troubling warning from Russia’s beleaguered nuclear engineers inside Iran, that a “Chernobyl”-like nuclear disaster could occur soon, with massive loss of life, because Iran is stubbornly pushing ahead despite the damage done to its centrifuges:
“The Russian scientists' report to the Kremlin, a copy of which has been seen by The Daily Telegraph, concludes that, despite "performing simple, basic tests" on the Bushehr reactor, the Russian team "cannot guarantee safe activation of the reactor".
It also accuses the Iranian management team, which is under intense political pressure to stick to the deadline, of "not exhibiting the professional and moral responsibility" that is normally required. They accuse the Iranians of having "disregard for human life" and warn that Russia could find itself blamed for "another Chernobyl" if it allows Bushehr to go ahead.”
Being a Russian assigned to work inside the pet nuclear weapons project of an Islamic extremist madman has to be a special kind of hell. Imagine being forced to pull the switch on machines full of hot radioactive material when you know the things will probably blow sky high and you with them?
The newly-retired head of the Israeli spy agency Mossad, Meir Dagan, has most certainly had a hand on this all these years and has recently said that Iran's nukes are now 4 to 5 years behind schedule. You can see on the link below that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not so sure.
I do wonder, pretty much every day, how this movie is going to end, don’t you?
Speaking of movies, I remind you of the new documentary on the Iranian nuclear threat. A “free online” viewing will be February 8. The signup is available through the producer which I have linked for you here.
See also at JPost: