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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stuxnet Shuts Down the Iranian Centrifuges

Yesterday diplomats informed the Associated Press in Vienna that Iran had been forced to shut down thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium, owing to the Stuxnet worm. Today, however, Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi claimed that no damage had been done to the Tehran's bid to become a nuclear power:

"Iran's nuclear chief said Tuesday that a malicious computer worm known as Stuxnet has not harmed the country's atomic program and accused the West of trying to sabotage it.

. . . .

Salehi said details about the virus became known only after Iran's 'enemies failed to achieve their goals.'

. . . .

'From more than a year ago, Westerners tried to implant the virus into our nuclear facilities in order to disrupt our activities but our young scientists stopped the virus at the very same spot they wanted to penetrate,' Salehi said in comments carried by state TV website."

Yet, as reported by this same Associated Press article:

"According to reports released by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Iranian uranium enrichment capacity has stagnated in recent years after initial rapid growth. Tehran has taken hundreds of centrifuges off line over the past 18 months, prompting speculation of technical problems.

At the Natanz enrichment facility in central Iran, the number of operating centrifuges declined from 4,920 in May 2009 to 3,772 in September 2010, the IAEA said."

Earlier this month, Ralph Langner, the German computer security expert who first reported that the Stuxnet worm was designed to attack Iran's enrichment plants and the Bushehr nuclear power plant, marveled at the technical prowess of the Stuxnet worm:

"Langner said that the portion of the worm that targeted Uranium enrichment plants manipulated the speeds of mechanical parts in the enrichment process, which would ultimately 'result in cracking the rotor, thereby destroying the centrifuge.'

. . . .

Praising the sophistication of the attack code, Langner said, 'it is obvious that several years of preparation went into the design of this attack.' Describing the technological advancement it represents, he compared it to 'the arrival of an F-35 fighter jet on a World War I battlefield.' He called the technology, 'much superior to anything ever seen before, and to what was assumed possible.'"

So do you believe Ali Akbar Salehi that no damage has been done to the Iranian nuclear effort, given the reputation of the Islamic Republic of Iran for honesty and morality?

Moreover, who do you think was responsible for sabotaging the Iranian nuclear effort? Although I don't have the answer, if you are among the cognoscente who read this blog, you are smart enough to figure this one out by yourself.

Will there be additional surprises awaiting this Iranian enterprise? Sadly, I have already expressed my regrets to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that I will not be able to attend the opening ceremony for the Bushehr power plant - if they ever decide they have removed all the bugs from the operational software - but will send Hugo Chavez in my stead, and when they press the button activating the reactor, I will be pleased to toast their success at a distance of several hundred miles from the meltdown.

1 comment:

  1. Very good news, thank you Jeffrey.
    I feel as proud, as if I made this bug myself.