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Stuxnet’s Attack Was Aimed At Natanz Reactor, Say Cyber-Security Specialists

The Institute for Science and International Security located in Washington recently carried out an analysis of a Stuxnet variant that possibly was responsible for decommissioning a thousand centrifuges situated in the uranium enrichment site namely Natanz previously this year (2010), reports The Jerusalem Post in news on December 24, 2010.

Actually, when an extensive attack by the dangerous PC worm struck PCs in Iran, it was conjectured that the malware possibly aimed at the Bushehr reactor. However, a number of reasons prevail for speculating the target as being on Natanz rather than Bushehr.

It's Natanz that's utilizing centrifuges for developing uranium that may possibly be utilized for erecting nuclear war weapons, while Bushehr is established for manufacturing atomic energy for peaceful purposes. The Natanz enrichment process needs industrial processes to be timed accurately and this can be effortlessly disturbed with a computer virus compromising the systems of factory controls.

Furthermore, as per the Institute's report, the time which was set to eliminate the 1,000 centrifuges coincided with a November 2010 statement that head of Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Saheli made in Iran. Akbar Saheli, who is the new foreign minister of Iran, confirmed that a year and half back, countries in the west targeted his nation's nuclear plants with a PC virus. The Jerusalem Post reported this in news on December 24, 2010.

Moreover, it is reported that instead of erasing data files alternatively supporting junk e-mail distributing servers, the Stuxnet variant attempted at targeting the highly focused electronics within a uranium enrichment plant followed with destroying it. Apparently this pulled back Iran's nuclear plans at the rate of 2 years.

PCs outside Iran were hit too as can be observed from the Russia-based contractor house Bushehr's insufficient security, while the worm might have disseminated to networks of Bushehr's Iranian clients as well as its other clients namely Pakistan and India. Albeit it is a fact that the contractor in Russia rather than developing Natanz was developing only Bushehr, it is wholly probable that the Stuxnet contaminated a Bushehr PC from where it was transmitted onto a Natanz system.

Related article: Stuxnet malware Signed With JMicron Certificate

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