This week it has been confirmed that the computer virus known as Stuxnet which spread accidentally across the global internet in 2010 was created originally by the governments of the United States and Israel to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. The worm was originally created to sabotage and shake apart Iran’s nuclear program, and was part of a larger program code-named “Olympic Games.” This virus became public after what’s assumed to have been a rogue laptop transported the virus out to the global web.
The new information we have today comes from a New York Times article created after 18 months of interviews with “American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts.” The New York Times notes that none of the names of the people they interviewed will be shared due to the “highly classified” nature of the program.
Interviewees suggest that the effort was actually successful in setting back Iran’s nuclear weapons program “18 months to two years” despite the accidental leak of the virus at the center of it all. To get the worm into the Iranian facility they’d targeted, Stuxnet was placed on a USB flash drive.
“Getting the worm into Natanz, however, was no easy trick. The United States and Israel would have to rely on engineers, maintenance workers and others—both spies and unwitting accomplices—with physical access to the plant. “That was our holy grail,” one of the architects of the plan said. “It turns out there is always an idiot around who doesn’t think much about the thumb drive in their hand.”” – NYT
Since the software “escaped”, a word used many times in this report, the Stuxnet code was “found then disassembled by security researchers” according to Ars Technica. It appears though that the United States government has things well in hand at this point outside this situation – but do acknowledge the threat for the future.
“He repeatedly expressed concerns that any American acknowledgment that it was using cyberweapons — even under the most careful and limited circumstances — could enable other countries, terrorists or hackers to justify their own attacks. “We discussed the irony, more than once,” one of his aides said.” – NYT
Have a peek at what Stuxnet was – and is – made of in the following video presented by Australian TV program HungryBeast. The direction and Motion Graphics in this movie were done by Patrick Clair