Stuxnet Developed to Halt Iran's Uranium Enrichment

Monday, November 15, 2010



New evidence indicates that the Stuxnet virus, arguably the most highly engineered malicious code yet developed, may have been designed specifically to stifle Iran's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium that could be used in the manufacture of nuclear warheads.

Production of fissionable enriched uranium is a difficult feat, requiring systems that produce precision control measures to be successful.

Researchers from Symantec have concluded that Stuxnet was designed to interfere with the performance of high-speed electric motors, the types which would be required to operate gas centrifuges used in the refinement process.

"Interfering with the speed of the motors sabotages the normal operation of the industrial control process," said Symantec's Eric Chien in his report.

Ever since the SCADA-infesting virus has been active, experts have speculated that the advanced nature of the Stuxnet code indicates that it was most likely developed by state-sponsored architects.

Thus far, Stuxnet has been detected in eleven different countries including China, India, Australia, the UK, Germany and the United States.

Theories on the origins and purpose of the designer bug have covered a wide spectrum, but few believe the code could have been developed by freelancers or criminal organizations.

Some experts point to the SCADA-targeting infestations as evidence of cyber warfare in action.


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