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The Stuxnet computer worm may be a state-sponsored cyber attack

Bryan Alaspa's picture

The country of Iran recently discovered that its Bushehr nuclear power plant had been infiltrated by a computer worm known as Stuxnet. The virus seems to have been introduced via USB flash drives and then passed from computer to computer by workers at the plant using their own flash drives. The complexity of the virus and the fact that it seems to have been targeted for one particular place suggests to some that it is a government-sponsored attack. However, the question remains, which country?

There is also a question as to which area of the country was the actual target. There appear to be experts in this field who are sure that the target was the nuclear power plant which is currently under construction. However, there are others who suggest it may be the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility located in an entirely different area. Either way, it seems as if Iran’s nuclear capabilities have been under attack.

The Stuxnet worm has been described as a kind of “guided missile” attack in the form of a computer virus. In fact, it may be the world’s first cyber “super weapon.” Of course, exactly what, if any, damage the virus has caused is unclear as the government of Iran is not making any statements to that fact.

Experts who have studied the very complex code of Stuxnet say that it appears to have been crafted as a very targeted, very powerful weapon. The code seems to target very specific systems. Also, there appears to be a built-in shut-off date that would make the code inert after a certain amount of time.

There are already many theories over which government might have created the world’s first cyber-weapon. However, like a good murder mystery, there are many possible suspects. Some of the leading contenders include the United States, Israel, China, Russia and even France. All of them are countries with some interest in Iran’s nuclear capabilities and have been known to have sophisticated cyber-technologies to create such a virus.

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