The Stuxnet computer worm that infiltrated industrial systems in Iran this fall may have been designed specifically to attack the country's nuclear program, potentially crippling centrifuges used to enrich uranium gas, according to new research.
In a blog post late last week, a Stuxnet researcher at Symantec wrote that the software firm had concluded that the worm targeted industrial systems with high frequency "converter drives" from two specific vendors, including one in Iran.
Independently, Langner Communications of Germany, a systems security firm, also announced over the weekend that another part of the worm's attack code was configured in a way to target a control system for steam turbines used in power plants, such as those installed at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. Langner also confirmed that the worm appeared to attack key components of centrifuges.
Ivanka Barzashka, a research associate at the Federation of American Scientists, said the Symantec findings "if true, are very significant."
Afghans headed to the polls today for parliamentary elections in a tense but hopeful atmosphere. If the Internet has a role to play this year in helping Afghanistan develop a peaceful civil society, it will probably turn on two key developments: cheap GPRS Internet delivered over mobile phones, and strong relationships with neighboring states to provide Internet transit.
In today's followup to last week's blog, we present the evidence we see in the global Internet routing tables for a strengthening technical relationship between the Tehran and Kabul governments. In Afghanistan, as in Iraq, Iran now sees an opportunity to export influence by exporting its technological infrastructure.