Iranian government accuses the west of launching an ‘electronic war’ following sophisticated Stuxnet worm attack
The intelligence minister, Heydar Moslehi, said western “spy services” were behind the complex computer virus that recently infected more than 30,000 computers in industrial sites, including those in the Bushehrnuclear power plant, appearing to confirm the suspicion of computer security experts that a foreign state was responsible.
The announcement also suggests that the attack involving the Stuxnet worm virus, which computer experts believe may have been designed to spy on Iran’s nuclear facilities rather than destroy them, has caused more alarm in the regime than has so far been acknowledged.
In remarks carried on Iranian state television and the Mehr news service, Moslehi said Iran had discovered the “destructive activities of the arrogance [of the west] in cyberspace”, adding that “different ways to confront them have been designed and implemented”.
“I assure all citizens that the intelligence apparatus currently has complete supervision on cyberspace and will not allow any leak or destruction of our country’s nuclear activities.
“Iran’s intelligence department has found a solution for confronting [the worm] and it will be applied. Our domination of virtual networks has thwarted the activities of enemies in this regard.”
Moslehi gave no details of when the arrests had taken place or whether those detained were Iranians or foreign citizens.
According to experts the Stuxnet worm, designed to be delivered through a removable drive like a USB stick, is one of the most complex pieces of malicious code ever deployed. It was written specifically to attack Siemens industrial control units of the kind used in the Iranian nuclear programme.