Iran Claims New Cyber Attack

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An Iranian military official is claiming that Iran has been hit with another computer virus. Information is limited and outsiders are skeptical.

Reports the AP:

Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of an Iranian military unit in charge of combatting sabotage, said that experts discovered the “espionage virus,” which he called “Stars.”

Jalali downplayed the impact of Stars, but said it is “harmonious” with computer systems and “inflicts minor damage in the initial stage and might be mistaken for executive files of governmental organizations.”

Jalali heads a military unit called Passive Defense that primarily deals with countering sabotage.

Last year, a powerful and destructive virus called “Stuxnet” set back Iran’s nuclear program, triggering wild speed fluctuations in the centrifuges used to refine gaseous uranium into the enriched form needed to produce energy or weapons.

At this point, almost nothing is known about the “Stars” program beyond what Jalali said on an Iranian website. It would not be surprising if an outside power had tried to  attack the Iranian nuclear program, which is in violation of IAEA safeguards and has been the source of growing concern in Israel, the U.S. and Europe. “It was our expectation that Stuxnet wasn’t the only attack,” says David Albright, an expert on international nuclear programs at the Institute for Science and International Security.

But Albright says there could be other explanations for the report of the virus. Iran’s civilian nuclear program at the Bushehr reactor has suffered setbacks recently thanks to bad pumps, rather than outside meddling, Albright says, and Iranian officials could be seeking to create an excuse for the slow-down in what had been a premiere nuclear effort for the country.