Stuxnet Virus Contains Biblical Reference, October 1, 2010
Stuxnet file hints at Israeli link (AFP):
The Stuxnet worm attacking computers in Iran includes a reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament story in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them, and is a possible clue of Israeli involvement, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
A file inside the Stuxnet code is named “Myrtus,” an allusion to the Hebrew word for Esther, and is a possible Israeli calling card or, perhaps, a “red herring” designed to throw investigators off the track, the Times said.
According to security software experts and analysts, Stuxnet may have been designed to target Iran’s nuclear facilities and suspicions have fallen on Israel and the United States.
Iran said this week that Stuxnet is mutating and wreaking havoc on computerised industrial equipment there but denied the Islamic republic’s first nuclear plant at Bushehr was among the facilities penetrated.
Stuxnet specifically attacks Siemens supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, systems commonly used to manage water supplies, oil rigs, power plants and other industrial facilities.
The self-replicating malware has also been found lurking on Siemens systems in India, Indonesia and Pakistan, but the heaviest infiltration appears to be in Iran, according to researchers.
Computer worm attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities ‘includes Biblical link to Israel’ (Daily Mail):
Israel has been linked to a complex worm currently attacking computers in Iran, which experts claim may have been designed to target the country’s nuclear facilities.
The Stuxnet worm, supposedly aimed at slowing Iran’s desire to create a nuclear arsenal, appears to include a reference to a Biblical story in which Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.
The New York Times reports a file inside the Stuxnet code is named ‘Myrtus’ – a reference to the Hebrew word Esther, the same name as the Old Testament book in which the story appears.
Suspicion over the origin of the computer worm, which appears to have been created to disrupt Tehran’s nuclear programme, has fallen on both Israel and the U.S in recent days.
Iran said this week that Stuxnet is continuing to mutate and wreaking havoc on computerised industrial equipment.
Virus with Biblical code hits Tehran (National Post):
An elite Israeli military unit responsible for cyber warfare has been accused of creating a virus that has crippled Iranian computer systems, and stopped work at its newest nuclear power station.
Computer experts have discovered a biblical reference embedded in the code of the computer worm that pointed to Israel as the origin of the cyber attack.
The code contains the word “myrtus,” Latin for the myrtle tree. The Hebrew word for myrtle, Hadassah, was the birth name of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, mentioned in the Bible.
Israel has threatened to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s facilities to ensure the Islamic Republic does not gain the ability to threaten its existence.
Ralf Langner, a German researcher, claimed Unit 8200, the signals intelligence arm of the Israeli defence forces, had perpetrated the computer virus attack by infiltrating the software in the Bushehr nuclear power station.
Israel demonstrated its intent to conquer cyber warfare in the 1990s by presenting the country’s legions of hackers with a choice between prison and working for the state. Thousands are said to have signed up, and have been incorporated into Unit 8200.
In the intelligence community, it is regarded as an act of bravura that has given the country a considerable advantage in the digital realm.
The Negev Desert-based Unit 8200 has evolved from the signal intelligence arm of the Israeli military into a respected leader in high-technology warfare.
One U.S. consultancy rated Unit 8200 as the world’s sixth-biggest initiator of cyber attacks. It is a rapidly growing field. The Russians and Chinese have been implicated in thousands of attacks on foreign targets every year.
Experts have spent months tracing the origin of the worm, a sophisticated piece of malicious software, or malware, that has infected industrial operating systems made by the German firm Siemens.
Programmers said it was most likely introduced to Iran on a memory stick, possibly by one of the Russian firms helping to build Bushehr. “It would be an absolute no-brainer to leave an infected USB stick near one of these guys, and there would be more than a 50% chance of him picking it up and infecting his computer,” Mr. Langner said.