US, Israel wrote Stuxnet, officials say

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US, Israel wrote Stuxnet, officials say

The NSA and Unit 8200 developed the worm to sabotage Iran's nuclear program.

The United States and Israel were behind the Stuxnet virus, according to government sources.

The virus spread in 2010 via Microsoft Windows with a highly specialised malware payload to target Siemens supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, particularly within Iran's nuclear power plants.

Quoting anonymous sources who reportedly worked on the project, dubbed Olympic Games, New York Times reporter David Sanger revealed that the National Security Agency, developed the worm with the Israeli military's Unit 8200 to sabotage Iran's nuclear program.

While Iran has repeatedly claimed the intention of its nuclear program was to provide power, suspicions that it was actually attempting to develop nuclear weapons was rampant within the governments of the US and Israel.

Sange's book, Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,the sabotage strategy began in 2006 under the administration of George W. Bush as an alternative to a military strike and because imposing sanctions on Iran was thought to be having undesirable economic consequences among allies.

Once the code was written, to test its effectiveness the United States recreated the centrifuges Iran used, an older model that Iran had purchased on the black market from Pakistan's nuclear chief. The U.S. was able to do this because it held in storage some samples of the machinery handed over in 2003 by Libyan ruler Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi when he gave up his nation's nuclear program.

By the time President Bush left office, the virus had little effect in Iran, but the program was passed on to incoming President Obama who was strongly urged to continue the program. He gave the go-ahead and the attacks continued, according to the Times.

Sanger spent a year-and-a-half interviewing American, European and Israeli officials employed in the Olympic Games program. As the project is highly classified and ongoing, none of those he spoke with were willing to be sourced.

This article originally appeared at scmagazineus.com

Copyright © SC Magazine, US edition
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