The mysterious malware Duqu has appeared in Iran, prompting further speculation that it is, or at least is a precursor to, the next generation of Stuxnet, the unprecedented computer virus that is believed to have substantially set back Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Duqu itself is far more limited than Stuxnet. According to researchers at Symantec, Duqu uses Microsoft Word email attachments to spy on computers. By contrast, Stuxnet was capable of actual (and substantial) sabotage as opposed to mere surveillance. However, such surveillance could be an effective prelude to a second piece of malware that actually, Stuxnet-like, does real damage.
If whoever created Duqu wants its follow-up to have a meaningful effect on Iran’s nuclear program (especially now that Stuxnet has run its course), I suggest naming it after a much cooler Star Wars character. A Boba Fett virus, for example, is sure to get the job done, even if you insist on no disintegration.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.