Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stuxnet Followup: Stick It to Russians

It has wrecked havoc in Iran, it has moved to China and is doing the same, as I posted a few days ago.

No one supposedly know where Stuxnet, a virus that targets industrial control systems built by Siemens, originated, though there are not many nations in the world that are capable of programming something like this.

DEBKAfile, a website in one of such nations, insinuates that it was Russians who planted the virus:

"debkafile's intelligence sources report from Iran that dozens of Russian nuclear engineers, technicians and contractors are hurriedly departing Iran for home since local intelligence authorities began rounding up their compatriots as suspects of planting the Stuxnet malworm into their nuclear program.

"Among them are the Russian personnel who built Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr which Tehran admits has been damaged by the virus.

"One of the Russian nuclear staffers, questioned in Moscow Sunday, Oct. 3 by Western sources, confirmed that many of his Russian colleagues had decided to leave with their families after team members were detained for questioning at the beginning of last week. He refused to give his name because he and his colleagues intend to return to Iran if the trouble blows over and the detainees are quickly released after questioning.

"According to our sources, these detentions were the source of the announcement Saturday, Oct. 2, by Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi that several "nuclear spies" had been captured. "The enemy had sent electronic worms through the internet to undermine Iran's nuclear activities," he said. This was the first high-level Iranian admission that the Stuxnet virus had been planted by foreign elements to sabotage their entire nuclear program - and not just the Bushehr reactor. The comprehensive scale of the damage is attested to by the detention of Russian nuclear experts also at Natanz, Isfahan and Tehran.

"...The prime aim of their interrogation is to find out if Russian intelligence knowingly planted the destructive worm in Iran's nuclear facilities, possibly for under-the-counter pay, or were the unwitting carriers of equipment on order by Iran that had been previously infected.

"debkafile's Western sources report that the hundreds of Russian scientists, engineers and technicians employed in Iran were responsible for installing the Siemens control systems in Iran's nuclear complex and other facilities which proved most vulnerable to the cyber attack.

"They were the only foreigners with access to these heavily guarded plants. At Bushehr, for instance, the Russian personnel enjoyed full access to all its systems."

Uh huh. Sure. It may be easy to bribe Russians to do things like plant the virus. The obvious question is, WHO BRIBED Russians?

And of course, the usual question: Cui bono?


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