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Mysterious 'Myrtus' Biblical Reference Spotted in Stuxnet Code

Nuclear Plant in IranThe powerful and dynamic Stuxnet worm has completely baffled security experts since its discovery in June. The mysteriously imperceptible and untraceable mega-malware has disseminated through various machines and facilities in Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Russia, but a recent attack on an Iranian nuclear facility has sparked a global firestorm of publicity and conjecture. Now, some analysts believe an incriminating clue may have been discovered within the worm's code. Since the complex malware's path grows increasingly intriguing and cinematic, though, the clue's associations could merely be a deceptive exercise purposefully intended to implicate innocent and obvious Iranian rivals.

"Myrtus," the name of a specific Stuxnet file, serves as a solitary and linguistically intricate hint. Myrtus could simply refer to the myrtle plant, which is indigenous to -- and prevalent in -- various Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African areas. But, according to the New York Times, linguists and Biblical scholars also contend the term's usage could refer to the Book of Esther in the Bible's Old Testament. Queen Esther's original Hebrew name was reportedly "Hadassah, which is similar to the Hebrew word for myrtle." In the Book of Esther, Jewish forces -- after unraveling a Persian attack plan -- stage a preemptive and successful assault against their adversaries.

Given Iran's constant apocalyptic threats against Israel, that linguistic relationship could obviously indicate Jewish or Israeli involvement. Analysts also believe the U.S. could be at least partially responsible for the worm, because of the nation's top-secret, cyber-intelligence program and its prominent efforts to undermine Iran's development of nuclear facilities. Some observers also believe Stuxnet specifically targets Siemens equipment, while others assert that Russian agents could have planted an infected USB stick in the Iranian facility while performing contract work.

So, although the "clue" bestows an enthralled media with a fascinating and provocative storyline, it really serves no other purpose than to inspire even more confusion and suspicion. Stay tuned: hopefully, this entangled, captivating and incendiary tale of international cyber-espionage will continue to unravel.

Tags: cyberattack, cybersecurity, cyberterrorism, iran, IranianNuclearProgram, military, myrtle, nuclearweapons, security, stuxnet, StuxnetWorm, top