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27 December 2012, 09:24

Confusion over alleged Stuxnet attack in Iran

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A spokesperson for the Iranian government has denied reports of a Stuxnet attack on industrial targets in Iran. Citing Iran's semi-official news agency ISNA as their source, Western media have quoted a representative of Iran's civil defence organisation as stating that an attack had been repulsed with the help of hackers working for the government. It is alleged that, some months ago, a Stuxnet-like piece of malware was infiltrated into a number of industrial targets, including an electricity supplier in the Hormozgan province.

The web site of Iran's state television broadcaster is now reporting that the government agency spokesman in question has said that this is not correct and that statements he made at a press conference have been misinterpreted and misquoted. He now claims merely to have stated that the agency is prepared to defend against such attacks.

The Stuxnet worm was discovered in 2010 and attacks and sabotages industrial control systems. It is believed to have been used by the US government to disrupt Iran's nuclear programme. According to reports, Stuxnet and a related piece of malware by the name of Flame were developed by US intelligence services and the Israeli military. Russian security expert Eugene Kaspersky recently warned of a continuing threat from Stuxnet.

On Tuesday, Iranian news agency Fars News also reported a cyber-attack on Culture Ministry institutes in Tehran, stating that the attack, which it claimed originated in the US, had been successfully repulsed.


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