Second Cyber Attack on Iran?

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The Stuxnet cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear program was a defining moment in the history of war, and now, the “Son of Stuxnet” has been discovered. Cyber security experts say the creator of the original worm, widely believed to be Israel and probably the U.S., also designed this one and “there is nothing out there available to stop it.”

The Stuxnet cyber attack rendered thousands of Iran’s centrifuges, around a fifth of all of them, useless. Over 1,000 damaged units were replaced at the Natanz centrifuge farm, and damaged the steam turbine at the Bushehr nuclear reactor. In 2009, only half of Iran’s centrifuges were being used and some of those operating were only enriching half as much uranium as they should. The Iranians have to replace all of the computers at Natanz, and it may take up to two years. It was later found out that Israel tested Stuxnet on centrifuges identical to those used by Iran at its nuclear site in Dimona.

The Iranians later announced in April 2011 that a second cyber attack was discovered, which they called “Stars.” All that the regime said was that it was found on government computers and caused little damage. Iran soon replaced its centrifuges at Natanz and began manufacturing more sophisticated centrifuges that can significantly speed up the nuclear program. The centrifuges were moved to an underground site in the mountains near Qom. In February, experts determined that Iran had recovered from the damage wrought by Stuxnet. And now, the “Son of Stuxnet” has emerged.

The new virus, also called Stuxnet 2.0 and Duqu, is broader in scope. It opens up a back door in the compromised computer systems for 36 days, and then disappears. It has been doing this as far back as last December, though the victims have not been publicly identified. The virus allows the creator to hijack the controlling computer systems, permitting the attacker to direct their operations or to even self-destruct. It also records keystrokes and sends back critical information about system vulnerabilities. The back doors have not been exploited, leading experts to conclude that a cyber attack is on its way.

“The attackers are looking for information such as design documents that could help them mount a future attack on an industrial control facility,” Symanetec said in its announcement of the discovery. It called it a “precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack.”

“It’s my personal belief that the guys who wrote Stuxnet knew exactly what they were doing, and if you thought they were good guys then, you probably don’t have anything more to worry about now. But if you didn’t, you probably have a lot to worry about,” said Vikrum Thakur of Symantec.

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  • Larry

    It would be really nice if it could report back, one way or another, the exact locations of the facilities. Make targeting them when the time comes easier.

    You also have to wonder whether or not something like this has been introduced into Pakistani nuclear facilities.

    • SAM000

      Iranian Resistance has disclosed the details of the Mullahs Nuclear sites years before.
      This last QOM site that writer talks about was disclosed in a press conference at Brussels on October 2005 by the Resistance.

      The progress of the Mullahs Nuclear work is due to the USA appeasement of the Mullahs.
      The Mullahs are protected by USA.

  • Haimi

    Dimona is in Israel, guys

  • Amused

    Stuxnet was an ingenius worm , designed specifically to attack a Sieman's program which run the Iranian centrifuges . What made it so remarkable -according to the Siemens "sleuths " was the way the worm searched the systems ubntil it found the program with a number -which was 162 . This was the number of centifuges that the Seimens program ran at any given time . It destroyed that syncronisation , which then caused them to overheat , not shutdown when they were suposed to and genearally knocked them "out of sync " which then caused breakdowns .The Seimens detectives patted themselves on the back but were left with ONE part of the worm, the intention they could not determine .Another 3 or 4 digit code which remained .

  • Amused

    Stuxnet is most likely still at work . The full magnitude of it's success has still not yet been determined . Even Siemans could not discover the meaning of that last 3 digit code or what is was /is looking for . Iran's nuclear program is STILL having problems …….

  • tagalog

    If the U.S. played a part in these cyber attacks on Iran, just wait until Iran can prove it, how indignant these attempted murderers will be! They'll be just furious at how underhanded the whole thing was. The sneaky bastards outsneaked! I love it.

  • RiverFred

    Lets hope they over heat and explode killing all their scientist, Allah Akbar.

  • mrbean

    We should be very careful about adopting "Cyberwarfare" as a policy because we have far more to lose than our enemies if we choose this as a standard. All our communications, control, and transactional infrastructure of a business and manufaturing, banking, power grids, government, defense and transportation are based on computer and satellite technologies. We should let all our enemies know that we have cyber -warfare capabilities, but if and when they use it, we should make them aware that we will return the favor in spades and will consider it an act of war.

  • Joe

    It is only a matter of time before such weapons will be employed by Iran or even criminal syndicates too. Only a matter of time. So now that these "good guys" have opened the Pandora's box, it is time to start spending hundreds of billions of dollars necessary to make everything hack proof from automated kitchens to hospitals life support systems to power grid controls. Was it worth it to attack Iran a country that has not attacked another nation for nearly 300 years since battle of Karnal? I highly doubt it.

  • Buscout

    Iran has already had a cyber attack on the US. This past summer the black out in San Diego region was the work of Iran. The US kept it quite though.

  • Amused

    The cyberwar has been underway for sometime now . And for a number of different agendas . Want computers ? This is the inevitable downside ….and not just national security , but hacking for industrial secrets , embezzling money from financial institutions etc.
    Americas industries ,poer producers and Financial Institutions have been warned for the past 20 or so years that their security codes ,firewalls etc , are lacking .Billions have been stolen in the last decade , but these stories have been put on the back pages if at all .Banks dont want anyone to know they have been compromised .From things as simple as intecepting wireless router data of Dept .Stores from the parking lot[with your credit card info ] to hacking into the datbasers of Credit card Companies .

  • Amused

    And the great Mr.Gates is in part responsible , by killing innovation in the industry .Microsoft is notorious for it's "back doors " in its program writing , and it runs just about everything .And the equation is simple , the hackers are smarter than the Microsoft code writers .

  • zena

    I hope Israel also planted nanobombs in the brains of the terrorists they released. Shoulda popped them all when Shalit was home but maybe they are just waiting for the right time….

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Stuxnet 1.0 and Stuxnet 2.0 are fine and dandy for slowing down the Iranians march to nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the ruling Mullahs and their nuclear weapons program must be obliterated sooner rather than later or else we will reap what we sow.

  • sam000

    We have the reports from Ispahan the city where the UF6 is provided to be fed to the centrifuges that the number of the cancers is drastically multiplied,
    another report with the same context is from the north of Tehran.
    At the North of Tehran there were 2 sites of Lavizan and Lavizan Shian that regime closed them at 2003 after that the Resistance disclosed their locations with full details of their installations,
    IAEA put one year and half to visit those sites and they find the soil contaminated.
    Any time the Resistance discovers a nuclear site and discloses the details by the press conferences, USA rushes to cover the Mullahs by offering the incentives to the Mullahs and putting more pressure on the Resistance.

  • 11bravo

    None of this gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling; we, the U.S. is going to have to bomb Iran eventually. Like Herman I do not have all the intel, but when it comes to iran and nukes I take a total hawkish approach.
    100 tomohawk missiles targeted at the mullahs, Mr wackjob, the 4 surrounding electrical power generating facilities for tehran, maybe the tv, cell phone, and radio towers and the government would likely collapse in pretty short order-but they are brutal and willing to kill their own civilians in massive numbers.

    So add a 45 day bombing campaign. No boots on the ground, no nation building, no worries!! Tee hee!!

  • myohmy

    Here's what Israel likes to do. they like to trick muslims into thinking they are in control of a bomb or a weapon and when the muslim terrorist least expects it they will cause the bomb to explode killing the terrorist by surprise. They've done it so many times. And it looks like the terrorist accidently blew himself up. So now it's just a matter of time until Iran has a nuclear accident and nukes itself. What a shame. Israel won't even have to attack Iran because when it happens it will seem like just a mistake or an accident within Iran's own nuke program. Isn't that just peachy keen? Don't say I didn't tell you how Iran would nuke itself, I just did.

  • Beth

    "Iran would nuke itself" (lols)….not because of some "trick" but because their intentions are evil

    excluding the innocent bystanders – I won't be shedding any tears for the iranian regime when it desintegrates in a ploom of radioactive smoke.

    In fact, I would see it as Justice from Heaven.

  • Amused


    Wake up !

  • winston

    How does anyone keep a straight face knowing that both the US and Israel have nuclear weapons and the means to deliver. The United States has used nuclear weapons So as much as you may dislike a totalitarian theocracy with nuclear weapons that potential already exists all over the world. And it could be a fanatic from any religion.

    Islamic terrorism, historically, has had very limited strike capabilities. (compare the Cole or embassy attack to 9/11,- a magical gift to them,..and defense contractors and oil companies and banks) that's been used to justify these multi-trillion dollar wars, the destruction of so many innocent human beings, and the erosion of our civil liberties. They did away with Habbeus Corpus and none of us even blinked! The right to a speedy trial. To face our accuser,, Gone. All that need happen is for any of us to be named an enemy of the state. How can we allow laws with such serious potential for abuse on the books? None of us will care until we are it's victims yourselves.

    How can people not see this War on Terror for the racket it is, is beyond me..Just look at the death statistics, the Mortality Tables published by year for Americans. Aspirin kills 7k times more Americans annually than do terrorists ! lol.. The War on Terror is a farce. A money-making machine and nothing more. Just like Vietnam before it, and so many other corporate military interventions.

    Dont you think the very first thing we would have done, had we actually been worried about terrorists wouldve been to secure our borders? Yeah.. well we cut back on US border patrol agents in the wake of 9-11. So long as war remains this profitable we're going to see a lot more of it. -thats for sure.

  • zuni

    My sons got a deal selling old computers to Iran from his Allenby store – leave him alone – he a good boy and has wonderful children.

  • diabolique

    Agreed..and how about a Student 2.0 sponsored entirely by Iranians and implemented by a mixed team of Chinese, Russian and Iranian hackers?