According to Iran, a new computer virus has attacked their military systems as part of an ongoing cyberwar against Tehran’s government. Called “Stars,” the virus attacks computer systems and causes “minor damage,” according to the Iranian government — which won’t specify exactly what got damaged (via Jeff Dunetz):
It would take some time to establish Stars’ intended purpose, said Gholam Reza Jalali, military head of the Iranian Passive Defence Organisation.
“The Stars virus has been presented to the laboratory but is still being investigated,” he said.
“No definite final conclusions have been reached.”
Mr Jalali revealed that the virus could have been “mistaken for executive files of governmental organisations”, but gave no indication about who might be behind the attack.
Their young experts haven’t had much success against Stuxnet. Their nuclear reactor in Bushehr is still behind schedule, and although the Iranians haven’t connected that failure to Stuxnet, it seems like an interesting correlation at the least. In fact, Jalali confirmed that the Iranians still haven’t mastered Stuxnet:
Jalali warned that the Stuxnet worm, discovered in computers at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor last year, still posed a potential risk. Some experts described it as the world’s first “guided cyber missile”, aimed at Iran’s atomic program.
Iranian officials said they had neutralized Stuxnet before it did the intended damage to its nuclear facilities. They blamed Israel and the United States — which believe Iran is seeking nuclear weapons — for the virus. …
Jalali said Stuxnet might still pose a risk. “We should know that fighting the Stuxnet virus does not mean the threat has been completely tackled, because viruses have a certain life span and they might continue their activities in another way.”
Jalali encouraged the Iranians to attack those responsible for the sabotage, and it’s highly likely that the mullahs have the “young experts” already at work on that project. They will have significant obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is that Western nations don’t buy technology from Iran. The reason Iran is vulnerable to such attacks is that they have to buy their systems from the West, forcing a certain degree of exposure on their infrastructure. The Stuxnet virus exploited openings in the Siemens systems Iran bought for its centrifuge cascades, which would not have been possible if Iran could have created its own closed systems for those purposes. That doesn’t mean that the Iranians can’t conduct a virus attack on American and Israeli defense systems, just that they have a large disadvantage on that battlefield.
Assuming that this isn’t just a conspiracy-theory false flag to cover for failures in the Iranian defense sector, it’s good news to discover that the Iranians are losing in this theater. If they’re claiming minimal damage, I’d bet that they’re more worried about it than they let on.