Infrastructure worm targets Iran

Mike Halsey MVP
Sep 24, 2010
Updated • Dec 13, 2014

A new worm that has been named Stuxnet has been detected that appears to have been written specifically to attack infrastructure in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In the first example of malware of this type the worm was programmed to attack power stations, water plants and industrial units.

A report by the BBC has said that the sheer complexity of the worm means it could only have been written by another "nation state" and so would make it the first real-world example of what most people would expect cyber-terrorism to look like.

Liam O'Murchu from security firm Symantec told the BBC "The fact that we see so many more infections in Iran than anywhere else in the world makes us think this threat was targeted at Iran and that there was something in Iran that was of very, very high value to whomever wrote it."

Some people have speculated the worm could have been written to specifically target Iran's nuclear facilities, though there is not enough evidence to draw any conclusions about what its intended target was or who wrote it.

Stuxnet was first detected in June by a security firm in Belarus who discovered it was trying to infect systems that, for security reasons, are not normally connected to the Internet.  It was coded to seek out a specific configuration of industrial control software made by European electronics giant Siemens.

Once the systems were hijacked, the worm would give the systems new instructions that could have seen them overheat as monitoring was shut down, or that could have seen the systems shut down altogether.

Either way this is clearly a very specific type of attack and no party has come forward to claim responsibility for it.


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  1. Tobey said on October 4, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Call me paranoid but am I the only one thinking a nuclear explosion accident would come in handy for the US as a pretext to shift their attention a little more to the East…?

  2. harko said on September 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    The BBC, such a trusted name in fair and balanced reporting (yes that’s sarcasm)

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