The New York Times newspaper has reported that the US and Israeli governments made the Stuxnet computer worm that targeted nuclear facilities in Iran.
It is an allegation that many in the security industry have articulated and that the Iranian government has made repeatedly.
Citing anonymous sources, the NYT’s story claims that the Bush administration launched a programme of cyber attack against Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme, named “Olympic Games”. The purpose was to obstruct the country’s development of nuclear technology as trade sanctions took effect, it says.
Days after the Stuxnet worm was exposed in 2010, President Obama’s administration met to discuss whether or not to continue the programme, the story claims. Obama decided to accelerate it.
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Last year, German security engineer Ralph Langner identified the US as the driving force behind Stuxnet in a presentation at the TED conference.
“My opinion is that the [Israeli intelligence agency] Mossad is involved, but that the leading force is not Israel,” he said. “The leading force behind that is the cyber superpower. There is only one, and that is the United States.”
He warned that Stuxnet could be repurposed to become a “cyber weapon of mass destruction”.