Iranian officials and state-controlled media are reporting that power plants and other industries in the southern part of the country have been targeted by another “Stuxnet-like” attack. Officials claim they successfully defeated the cyberattack.
The Associated Press reported, “An Iranian semi-official news agency says there has been another cyberattack by the sophisticated computer worm Stuxnet, this time on the industries in the country’s south. Tuesday’s report by ISNA quotes provincial civil defense chief Ali Akbar Akhavan as saying the virus targeted a power plant and some other industries in Hormozgan province in recent months.”
BBC News added, “Provincial civil defense chief Ali Akbar Akhavan said Iranian industry was constantly being targeted by ‘enemy cyber attacks’ and companies in Hormozgan province had recently been infiltrated, the semi-official Isna news agency reported. ‘The Bandar Abbas electricity supply company has come under cyber attack,’ he told a news conference. ‘But we were able to prevent its expansion owing to our timely measures and the co-operation of skilled hackers.'”
All Things D’s Arik Hesseldahl noted, “The thing is, Iranian media, all state-controlled, can’t seem to get their story quite straight on how the government has responded. First there were reports — citing local civil defense officials — that ‘skilled hackers’ helped the country repel and ultimately foil the attack. Later, local reports tracked by Agence France-Press walked back from that version of events. Whatever the response, the description of the attack describes a new ‘Stuxnet-like’ Trojan, without going into further detail about its capabilities or behavior.”
According to Rick Gladstone with The New York Times, “Accounts of the attacks in the official press did not specify who was responsible, when they were carried out or how they were thwarted. But they strongly suggested that the attacks had originated in the United States and Israel, which have been engaged in a shadowy struggle of computer sabotage with Iran in a broader dispute over whether Iran’s nuclear energy program is for peaceful or military use. Iran has been on heightened alert against such sabotage since a computer worm known as Stuxnet was used to attack its uranium enrichment centrifuges more than two years ago, which American intelligence officials believe caused many of the machines to spin out of control and self-destruct, slowing the Iranian program’s progress.”