Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Joint Israeli/US Development of Stuxnet?

Building on an article in the New York Times titled,Israeli Test on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay, other news services are also claiming that the Stuxnet virus was , as Stratfor Global Intelligence writes, an "unprecedented and extensive operational cooperation among U.S. and Israeli intelligence services to develop and release the cyberweapon."
The New York Times report leaves questions about how intelligence was gathered in order to target that specific number of centrifuges. It also does not detail how the worm gained access to the Natanz facility. While the worm was designed to spread on its own, the United States or Israel most likely had agents with access to Natanz or access to the computers of scientists who might unknowingly spread the worm on flash drives. This would guarantee its infiltration into the Iranian systems and, hopefully for the developers, its success. In all probability, an operational asset with access to the Iranian facilities was used to help introduce the Stuxnet worm into the Iranian computer systems. Many secrets remain about how the United States and Israel orchestrated this attack, the first targeted weapon spread on computer networks in history.

What it does show is unprecedented cooperation among U.S. and Israeli intelligence and nuclear agencies to wage clandestine sabotage operations against Iran. Rumors of an agreement between the countries have been swirling since Washington denied permission for a conventional Israeli attack in 2008. On Dec. 30, 2010, French newspaper Le Canard Enchaine reported that U.S. and British intelligence services agreed to cooperate with Mossad in a clandestine program if the Israelis promised not to launch a military strike on Iran.

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