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Ahmadinejad Says Iran's Nuclear Facilities Were Hit by Stuxnet Worm

AhmadinejadIn June, security experts first discovered a dangerous new worm called Stuxnet, which, to the horror of many, possessed the ability to wreak havoc upon real-world industrial systems. The virus affected servers all over the world, but seemed to be especially focused on networks in Iran, as the country absorbed a major attack over the summer. This Iranian focus led many to speculate that Stuxnet could be ultimately targeting Iranian nuclear facilities -- a hypothesis that Tehran steadfastly denied. Yesterday, however, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad finally admitted that a worm had indeed struck centrifuge facilities in Iran, but claimed that the problem was under control.

Ahmadinejad made the announcement while speaking at a news conference on the recent assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist -- an attack that the president attributed to "the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments." Ahmadinejad didn't provide details on the nature of the cyberattack on Iran's nuclear facilities, nor did he accuse any specific organizations or governments of perpetrating it. But, whoever it was, Ahmadinejad told reporters, "succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts." The Iranian president went on to say that the Islamic Republic's security experts had already detected the problem, and promised that it would cause no further damage to the country's centrifuges.

He may have been relatively opaque in his announcement, but Ahmadinejad's admission is still pretty significant, in and of itself. Iranian officials had previously acknowledged that their nuclear facilities were experiencing strange problems, but, until yesterday, had refused to admit that the irregularities were the result of a malicious cyberattack. Researchers, meanwhile, have long believed that only a government could produce a worm complex enough to throw a nuclear facility into disarray. And, although he refrained from explicitly accusing one single country of executing the attack, Ahmadinejad's anti-Israeli and -American rhetoric may suggest that he already has a few suspects in mind.

Tags: Ahmadinejad, cybersecurity, Iran, israel, malware, nuclear, NuclearPower, politics, security, stuxnet, top, USA