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Confirmed: Stuxnet Targeted Iran

Computer virus was aimed at nuclear program

by
Marc Tracy
November 16, 2010
The Bushehr reactor last month.(Majid Asgaripour/AFP/Getty Images)
The Bushehr reactor last month.(Majid Asgaripour/AFP/Getty Images)

New studies show that the virus was indeed designed to target Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. A Symantec researcher concluded that Stuxnet targets Iranian “converter drives,” and, independently, a researcher at Germany’s Langner Communications reported that the virus is aimed at centrifuges and turbine control systems in nuclear power plants, such as the one at Bushehr whose launch was “inexplicably” delayed.

“Rigging the speed control is a very clever way of causing the machines to fly apart,” said one expert. “If Symantec’s analysis is true, then Stuxnet likely aimed to destroy Iran’s gas centrifuges, which could produce enriched uranium for both nuclear fuel and nuclear bombs.”

Last month, in Tablet Magazine, Michael Tanji explained what Stuxnet is and how it is in keeping with the latest trends in cyber-warfare. And top spy correspondent Yossi Melman hypothesized that Israel is the source of the virus and that it may have worked with the German company Siemens to deliver it to Iranian facilities.

(And don’t forget The Purim Theory!)

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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