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Iran detects “massive” cyber attack on nuclear facilities

Intelligence Minister blames UK, US and Israel for targeting nuclear infrastructure

By Steve Evans

Iran says it has detected a "massive" cyber attack targeting its nuclear facilities. Ministers claimed the US, UK and Israel were behind the attack.

According to Reuters, the attack was launched following the breakdown in talks Iran had been holding in Moscow with other nations over its controversial nuclear programme. No agreement was reached following two days of talks, and Iran’s Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi suggested this was the motivation behind the attack.

"Based on obtained information, America and the Zionist regime (Israel) along with the MI6 planned an operation to launch a massive cyber attack against Iran’s facilities following the meeting between Iran and the P5+1 in Moscow," Iran’s English-language Press TV quoted him as saying.

P45+1 is a group on countries who joined together to engage Iran in diplomatic efforts over its nuclear programme. Its members include the UK, US, Germany, France, Russia and China.

Moslehi added that his country had adequate security defences in place, and that those defences had "defeated" the virus.

At this stage it is not clear if this is the Flame virus or a new malware attack. It was alleged this week that the US and Israel were behind Flame, which has been described as the most complex piece of malware ever seen.

According to The Washington Post the two countries coordinated on Flame’s development in an attempt to slow Iran’s nuclear programme. It gathered intelligence from Iran’s computer network, which was then sent back to the author, apparently to help prepare for a more advanced cyberwarfare campaign.

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Iran was also the target of the Stuxnet worm, which actually caused physical damage to the country’s nuclear infrastructure. It caused centrifuged to fail at the main Iranian enrichment facility by forcing them to speed up, causing them to overheat.

It was revealed by The New York Times recently that Stuxnet was also the work of the US and Israel. According to the paper it was ordered by President Obama, who sped up the country’s cyber espionage and warfare campaigns after taking office.

Kaspersky Lab also claimed that Flame and Stuxnet share some code, meaning it is highly likely they were both developed by the same nation-state.

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