Feeds

Iran accused of hacking nuke inspectors' phones, PCs

'Unusual events' suggest tampering

Security for virtualized datacentres

United Nations nuclear officials are investigating reports that Iranian spies may have hacked agency phones and laptops that were left unattended during a recent inspection of that country's uranium enrichment facilities, the Associated Press reported.

The news agency cited three unnamed diplomats who said the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency reported "unusual events" that suggested outsiders had tampered with their electronic equipment. The unspecified events happened during the first quarter of this year while the inspectors were touring Iranian facilities, it said.

Inspectors aren't permitted to take their devices with them during inspections, so they typically leave them in hotel rooms. Strict security measures require unattended cellphones and computers to be placed in seamless paper envelopes that are sealed and have writing across the seal and envelope to flag any unauthorized opening.

The diplomats said the Iranians had found ways to bypass the security measures but didn't provide further details.

Olli Heinonen, who resigned last year as the IAEA's deputy director general in charge of investigating Iran's nuclear program, said data stored on laptops is encrypted and that little sensitive material is stored on phones. He speculated that any attempt to access the equipment might have been done in an attempt to plant malware that would infect the agency’s computer networks once the gear was connected.

Iran has been subjected to nuclear agency inspections for almost a decade. Tehran says its nuclear activities are aimed solely at peaceful purposes, but some countries have claimed the real purpose of the enrichment program is to develop a nuclear warhead.

Five industrial plants inside Iran were disrupted by the Stuxnet worm in 2009 and 2010 in an attempt to disrupt the enrichment program by sabotaging its centrifuge arrays, Symantec reported recently. A senior Iranian commander has said that Iran was hit by a second piece of malware, but so far there are no independent research to support that claim.

The AP report is here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.