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NYT on the Stuxnet virus 17, January 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Iran.
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There is an excellent piece of ‘traditional’ investigative journalism in the New York Times. It is a lengthy article, researched over many months and continents, analysing the Stuxnet computer virus that appeared to be targeting Iran’s nuclear enrichment industry.

When the story broke 6 months ago, little was known about the virus. Its aims were not clear neither were its targets or its authors. Like many others, however, given its prevalence in Iran and how the virus appeared to work in certain Siemens systems closely associated ywith Iran’s nuclear industry, I assumed that it was the first clear sign of international cyber-warfare conducted by America and possibly Israel against Iran.

The NYT confirms that this is the case.

The virus was incredibly subtle. It was seemingly designed only to ‘go to work’ when a series of very specific variables were met. Then it apparently ‘recorded’ the ordinary spinning of a Uranium enriching centrifuge and replayed these data back to the controlling stations so that all would appear normal while actually speeding up the spinning process, thus physically destroying the centrifuges. This is their best guess, at least.

Yet, while not wholly successful it does appear to have set back Iran’s quest for a bomb several years, as recently announced by Secretary of State Clinton and the outgoing head of the Mossad.

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