For the first time, Iran’s president Ahmadinejad confirmed that Stuxnet a cyberbug that has infected the computers running the Iranian centrifuges causing them to be damaged. Before today Iran has repeatedly denied that the complex computer worm had affected its nuclear program. The UN said last week that Iran had temporarily halted most of its uranium enrichment work earlier this month. But on the other hand, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the problems had been created by enemies of Iran, but had had only a limited effect. He also blamed the cyber attack on Israel and the West.
This is one of the rare cases when the Iranian Presidential nut-job may be correct. There is evidence that Israel is probably behind the Stuxnet worm, evidence of biblical proportions. If not then maybe the virus is a sign from God. Computer Scientists who are analyzing the computer worm that is slowing down Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons may have found a file name that seemingly refers to the Biblical Queen Esther.
Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament narrative in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.
That use of the word “Myrtus” — which can be read as an allusion to Esther — to name a file inside the code is one of several murky clues that have emerged as computer experts try to trace the origin and purpose of the rogue Stuxnet program, which seeks out a specific kind of command module for industrial equipment.
In the Biblical Story of Esther, the vizier to the Persian king tries to destroy the Jewish people, in the end he is defeated by a Jewess named Esther who becomes queen of Persia and her uncle Mordecai. Since Iran is the modern day Persia, and the computer virus is meant to stop the destruction of the Jewish People, could this be a message from God, or from Israel, something put in just to confuse, or maybe something put in the virus just to make the paranoid Iranians even more nervous.
Don’t look for Israel to confirm the story, they don’t comment on any defense action even the ones that they have nothing to do with.
There are many competing explanations for myrtus, which could simply signify myrtle, a plant important to many cultures in the region. But some security experts see the reference as a signature allusion to Esther, a clear warning in a mounting technological and psychological battle as Israel and its allies try to breach Tehran’s most heavily guarded project. Others doubt the Israelis were involved and say the word could have been inserted as deliberate misinformation, to implicate Israel.
“The Iranians are already paranoid about the fact that some of their scientists have defected and several of their secret nuclear sites have been revealed,” one former intelligence official who still works on Iran issues said recently. “Whatever the origin and purpose of Stuxnet, it ramps up the psychological pressure.”
The Stuxnet virus attacks only a certain type of Siemens industrial control computer, the type used by
“What we were told by many sources,” said Olli Heinonen, who retired last month as the head of inspections at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, “was that the Iranian nuclear program was acquiring this kind of equipment.”
Also, starting in the summer of 2009, the Iranians began having tremendous difficulty running their centrifuges, the tall, silvery machines that spin at supersonic speed to enrich uranium — and which can explode spectacularly if they become unstable. In New York last week, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, shrugged off suggestions that the country was having trouble keeping its enrichment plants going.
For a full explanation of how the Stuxnet virus works CLICK HERE.
There is no way to determine where the virus came from, US, Israel or some crazy hacker. There are even reports that the virus may have come from Russia.
There are many reasons to suspect Israel’s involvement in Stuxnet. Intelligence is the single largest section of its military and the unit devoted to signal, electronic and computer network intelligence, known as Unit 8200, is the largest group within intelligence.
Yossi Melman, who covers intelligence for the newspaper Haaretz and is at work on a book about Israeli intelligence over the past decade, said in a telephone interview that he suspected that Israel was involved.
He noted that Meir Dagan, head of Mossad, had his term extended last year partly because he was said to be involved in important projects. He added that in the past year Israeli estimates of when Iran will have a nuclear weapon had been extended to 2014.
“They seem to know something, that they have more time than originally thought,” he said.
Wherever it came from, any virus that is slowing down Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is doing God’s work.