Stuxnet Evidence Points to Joint US-Israeli Development

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Headlines

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An article in the New York Times examines mounting evidence that the infamous Stuxnet virus may have been developed jointly by a team of U.S. and Israeli researchers.

Stuxnet is a highly sophisticated designer-virus that wreaks havoc with Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems (SCADA) that provide operations control for critical infrastructure and production networks.

Leading theories indicate that the malware was probably produced to stifle Iran's nuclear warhead ambitions, but the virus has  been detected in at least eleven countries including the United States, China, India, Australia, the UK, and Germany.

The New York Times article asserts that the Stuxnet virus may have been developed at Israel's Dimona complex in the Negev desert. Dimona is thought to be the center for Israeli nuclear research.

"Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms."

"Though American and Israeli officials refuse to talk publicly about what goes on at Dimona, the operations there, as well as related efforts in the United States, are among the newest and strongest clues suggesting that the virus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program."

Previously, security expert Jeffrey Carr of Taia Global had proposed alternatives to the notion that the United States or Israel created the Stuxnet virus, and strongly believes her has uncovered data that indicates the malware originated in China.

The virus is capable of not only infecting SCADA control systems, it can also affect physical damage to the equipment the networks control.

Stuxnet is the first in-the-wild evidence of what the future of cyber offensives may look like - tailored computer code with a specific purpose that is nearly impossible to trace to any particular state actor.

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