Whether it was Flame or something new, Iran said it detected a planned “massive cyber attack” against its nuclear facilities, state television said Thursday. That comes after talks with major powers this week failed to resolve issues over Tehran’s disputed nuclear activities.
Iran’s Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said the United States and Israel, along with Britain, had planned the attack, according to a Reuters report.
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“Based on obtained information, America and the Zionist regime (Israel) along with the MI6 planned an operation to launch a massive cyber attack against Iran’s facilities following the meeting between Iran and the P5+1 in Moscow,” Iran’s English-language Press TV quoted him as saying.
“They still seek to carry out the plan, but we have taken necessary measures,” he said, without elaborating.
Security experts said a highly sophisticated computer virus, Flame, infected computers in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. Unlike the Stuxnet virus that targeted Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, Flame went out seeking information, not just focusing on critical infrastructure.
Iranian officials said the country defeated the virus, capable of snatching data and eavesdropping on computer users. It was not clear if the cyber attack referred to by Moslehi was Flame, or a new virus.
As ISSSource’s Richard Sale reported back in October, Stuxnet had its true origin in the waning moments of George W. Bush’s presidency in 2009, said former senior intelligence officials, one of whom worked for the National Intelligence office.
At the time, President Bush wanted to sabotage the electrical and computer systems at Natanz, which is a fuel enrichment plant in Iran. After Bush left office, President Barack Obama accelerated the program, these sources said.
World powers and Iran failed to secure a breakthrough at talks on Tehran’s nuclear program in Moscow on Tuesday, despite the threat of a new Middle East conflict if diplomacy collapses.
After two days of talks, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said significant differences remained and the two sides had agreed only on a technical follow-up meeting in Istanbul on July 3.