Iran official threatens retaliation for Stuxnet

Call for legal counter-measures actually dials down the tension

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The head of Iran's civilian defense force threatened legal retaliation against software maker Siemens for what he said was complicity in the Stuxnet worm attack on Iran's nuclear-fuel development facilities.

Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iran's civilian defense, accused Siemens of providing technical assistance and sample code for the Siemens-build SCADA systems that control the centrifuges and other critical systems at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Windows-based PCs controlling the systems were among more than 60,000 in Iran struck and damaged in 2010 by what security experts said was a carefully designed and directed virus attack.

Iranian government officials blame the United States and Israel for the attack. The German Siemens is now, apparently, an accomplice, though Jalali offered no specifics on why he believed Siemens cooperated with those who directed Stuxnet, or more evidence that it was the U.S. and Israel that did it.

"Our executive officials should legally follow up the case of Siemens SCADA software which prepared the ground for the Stuxnet virus," he told the told Iranian news services.

Russia's ambassador to NATO has also demanded investigations into the malware attack, warning that it could have sparked a "Chernobyl tragedy" by causing centrifuges refining uranium to spin out of control.

Israel admitted it did test the Stuxnet virus after it was identified, but officials from both Israel and the United States have denied any direct involvement.

Both Israeli and U.S. officials have acted suspiciously smug about the attack, which sounds like an admission of guilt. There is no hard evidence confirming that, however.

The attack was more than just script kiddies looking for new things to brag about, though.

Not only is Stuxnet reputedly one of the most sophisticated and effective attack programs, according to some of those who have dissected it, it appears to have been part of a larger campaign in which two Iranian nuclear scientists were murdered and another critically injured.

Photo Credit: 

NextEra Energy Resources

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