Computer worm attacking Iran's nuclear facilities 'includes Biblical link to Israel'
Richard James – Daily Mail October 1, 2010
Israel has been linked to a complex worm currently attacking computers in Iran, which experts claim may have been designed to target the country's nuclear facilities.
The Stuxnet worm, supposedly aimed at slowing Iran's desire to create a nuclear arsenal, appears to include a reference to a Biblical story in which Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.
The New York Times reports a file inside the Stuxnet code is named 'Myrtus' - a reference to the Hebrew word Esther, the same name as the Old Testament book in which the story appears
Suspicion over the origin of the computer worm, which appears to have been created to disrupt Tehran's nuclear programme, has fallen on both Israel and the U.S in recent days.
Iran said this week that Stuxnet is continuing to mutate and wreaking havoc on computerised industrial equipment.
The AFP news agency claims the worm has been designed to attack systems commonly used to manage water supplies, oil rigs, power plants and other industrial facilities.
No one has yet claimed credit for the virus though, with the U.S. denying responsibility.
TShai Blitzblau, the head of the computer warfare laboratory at Maglan, an Israeli company specialising in information security, also told the New York Times he was 'convinced that Israel had nothing to do with Stuxnet'.
'We did a complete simulation of it and we sliced the code to its deepest level,' he told the newspaper.
'We have studied its protocols and functionality. Our two main suspects for this are high-level industrial espionage against Siemens and a kind of academic experiment.'
A number of experts in cyberwar and nuclear enrichment technology claim the Stuxnet mystery may never been solved.
Others point to the fact the use of the word 'Myrtus' may simply be a reference to myrtle - a plant important to many cultures in the region
Elsewhere it was confirmed this week that Tehran will finally start loading its Russian-built Bushehr nuclear reactor with enriched uranium fuel over the next few day, months later than had been originally announced.
Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi maintained the delay had nothing to do with the computer worm and said the plant had not been affected in any way.
'We hope to load the fuel into the Bushehr reactor by early October and the necessary groundwork for this is coming together, God willing, so it [the fuel] will be completely put in place in the heart [of the reactor] by November,' he told the semiofficial ISNA news agency.
'The heart of the reactor will begin beating. This [computer] contamination has not reached our main system.
'It was detected in some personal laptops and necessary measures were taken in this regard. Our main system is clean,' he added.
If the 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor is hooked up to the electricity grid over the next few months, it won't, however, be until early 2011 that it begins powering Iranian cities.
Last updated 03/10/2010