Feeds

Iran: 'Nuke spies nabbed, but not for Stuxnet'

Not infected USB-wielding infidels, then?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Iranian leaders have backtracked on earlier claims that they had arrested unnamed nuclear spies over the spread of the infamous Stuxnet worm in the country.

Intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi repeated the standard line that infections by the Stuxnet worm had been contained. Then he said that the arrest of so-called "nuclear spies" last month was nothing to do with the malware, a statement at odds with earlier ministerial pronouncements.

The highly sophisticated Stuxnet worm targets industrial plant control systems from Siemens and is capable of reprogramming or even sabotaging infected systems. Iranian officials had previously admitted that the worm had infected PCs at its highly controversial Bushehr nuclear plant - but maintain that this was nothing to do with months-long delays in bringing its reactors online.

The malware infected more computers in Indonesia and India than Iran, but that hasn't stopped Iran pointing the finger of blame for the creation of the worm towards its arch-enemy, Israel.

Independent security experts reckon Stuxnet, which uses no less than four zero-day attacks, would have taken a four-man team with access to power plant control systems for testing purposes at least half a year to develop. That suggests nation-state involvement - but anything beyond that is pure speculation. One popular theory posits that the worm was developed in Israel and introduced by Russian sub-contractors working at Bushehr, perhaps via an infected USB stick. However, there's no evidence to either prove or disprove this theory.

The main effect of the worm has come in substantiating arguments that Western countries need to do more to invest in the cyber-defence of critical infrastructure systems, an area allocated £500 million in the UK's defence spending review, despite cuts in spending in the wider economy. Naturally countries such as Britain are also developing offensive cyber-weapons too, but nobody likes to talk about that. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.