Event A: Stuxnet, an unprecedented computer worm that targets Siemens-made systems thought to be used at Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons facilities, appears and apparently wreaks havoc on said nuclear facilities.
Event B: Iran delays launch of a long-planned nuclear power plant at Bushehr.
Are Events A and B connected? Of course not! So says Iran’s atomic energy chief. Iran has arrested various “spies” associated with Stuxnet. Everything is now under control! In fact, the atomic energy chief added, the Islamic Republic is offering a special rate on the sale of a bridge in Brooklyn … .
Neither Yossi Melman nor Michael Tanji, who both write about Stuxnet for Tablet Magazine today, can state that Israel is behind Stuxnet. (If you believe your Biblical conspiracy theories, it was Israel; if you believe former U.S. weapons inspector David Kay, it was probably the Russians or the Chinese. Melman, who is as sourced-up as they come, hypothesizes that Israel may have worked with Siemens to get this done.) But Tanji anticipates this Iranian denial: “Stuxnet,” he writes, “will naturally not be the cause of any delays, and the resumption of work will be quickly and loudly promoted.”
Mainly, though, Tanji explains what the damn thing is. And what makes it new: “It is much more in-line with traditional military or intelligence thinking than most malicious activity noted online to date,” he argues. “Stuxnet does nothing but seek out legitimate targets, in the context of total war. It is an indicator that, at a minimum, confirms what observers of the information warfare field have suspected for some time: When the enemy comes, he’ll turn out the lights first.”
Meanwhile, a new poll showed quite low U.S. support for war with Iran under a variety of circumstances, further confirming that covert sabotage remains the ideal avenue for derailing Iran’s nuclear weapons project. Not that any sabotage is succeeding or anything.
Iran Says Computer Virus Not To Blame for Delay in Launching Nuclear Power Plant [LAT]
Iran Arrests Stuxnet ‘Spies’ [JTA]
In a Computer Worm, a Possible Biblical Clue [NYT]
Related: Coded [Tablet Magazine]
Modern Warfare, Too [Tablet Magazine]
As The Worm Turns [National Interest]