Hit by ‘Stars’ after ‘Stuxnet’
Iran’s senior military official Gholam Reza Jalali has revealed that Iran has been hit by a second computer virus, adding it was part of a concerted campaign to undermine the country’s disputed nuclear programme.
Jalali is the head of an Iranian military unit in charge of combatting sabotage. Earlier this month, he had blamed German engineering company Siemens for helping the US and Israel to launch the computer worm Stuxnet against its nuclear facilities late last year. Jalali had said that the Stuxnet worm could have caused large-scale accidents and loss of life, but scientists managed to avert any casualty.
Now, Jalali has said that experts have discovered a second attack by the "espionage virus," which he called "Stars."
"The Stars virus has been presented to the laboratory but is still being investigated," Jalali said in a report posted on his organisation’s website, paydarymelli.ir.
"No definite and final conclusions have been reached."
"In the initial stage, the damage is low and it is likely to be mistaken for governmental executable files," Jalali said.
Iran has acknowledged that Stuxnet affected a limited number of centrifuges.
Frank Coggrave, general manager EMEA, Guidance Software, said the latest reports suggest a shift to more target attacks. "While its purpose is still being investigated, reports suggest that it was intended to target government institutions. This highlights the effort taken to inflict damage on one particular institution, in one country. Worryingly, it comes less than a year since the Stuxnet worm was uncovered and the ramifications of this were huge, far beyond the direct damage it inflicted. It highlighted that this new breed of targeted threats were a reality, which poses new challenges for governments and organisations in establishing adequate defences against an ‘unseen’ enemy."