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Computerworld - Researchers have uncovered new clues that the Stuxnet worm may have been created to sabotage Iranian attempts to turn uranium into atomic bomb-grade fuel.
According to Eric Chien, one of three Symantec researchers who have dug into Stuxnet, the worm targets industrial systems that control very high speed electrical motors, such as those used to spin gas centrifuges, one of the ways uranium can be enriched into fissionable material.
Stuxnet looks for devices called "frequency converter drives" connected to a SCADA system, said Chien. Such drives take electrical current from a power grid, then change the output to a much higher frequency, typically 600 Hz or higher.
"The high-frequency output from the frequency changer is fed to the high-speed gas centrifuge drive motors (the speed of an AC motor is proportional to the frequency of the supplied current)," states the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in an explanation of uranium production on its Web site. "The centrifuge power supplies must operate at high efficiency, provide low harmonic distortion, and provide precise control of the output frequency."
Originally posted by BomSquad
......More and more evidence appears to point to this being a weapon against the Iranian nuclear enrichment program. But, the question remains, Who is behind it?
Originally posted by xSMOKING_GUNx
I would have thought that the point of entry to the systems would have been a backdoor left open by the original designers for just such an attack.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted Monday that "several" uranium enrichment centrifuges were damaged by "software installed in electronic equipment," amid speculation Iran's nuclear activities had come under cyberattack.
"They were able to create problems on a limited basis for some of our centrifuges by software installed in electronic equipment," Ahmadinejad told reporters when asked whether Iran's nuclear programme had been affected.
"Our specialists stopped that and they will not be able to do it again," he added without elaborating on the software thought to have been used.
Researchers at Symantec Corp (SYMC.O) have uncovered a version of the Stuxnet computer virus that was used to attack Iran's nuclear program in November 2007, two years earlier than previously thought.
The virus was being developed early as 2005, when Iran was still setting up its uranium enrichment facility, said Symantec researcher Liam O'Murchu. That facility went online in 2007.
"It is really mind blowing that they were thinking about creating a project like that in 2005," O'Murchu told Reuters in ahead of the report's release at the RSA security conference, an event attended by more than 20,000 security professionals, in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Symantec had previously uncovered evidence that planning for Stuxnet began in 2007. The New York Times reported in June 2012 that the impetus for the project dated back to 2006, when U.S. President George W. Bush was looking for options to slow Iran's nuclear ambitions.