TEHRAN - Iran has been targeted by a second computer virus in a "cyber
war" waged by its enemies, its commander of civil defense said on
Gholamreza Jalali told the semi-official Mehr news agency that the new virus, called "Stars", was being investigated by experts. Last year, Iran revealed that its computers were attacked by the Stuxnet worm, which attack the Bushehr nuclear reactor.
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"Fortunately, our young experts have been able to discover this virus
and the Stars virus is now in the laboratory for more investigations,"
Jalali was quoted as saying. He did not specify the target of Stars or
its intended impact.
"The particular characteristics of the Stars virus have been
discovered," Jalali said. "The virus is congruous and harmonious with
the [computer] system and in the initial phase it does minor damage and
might be mistaken for some executive files of government organizations."
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
'Stuxnet virus is still a risk'
The existence of Stuxnet became public knowledge around the time that
Iran began loading fuel into Bushehr, its first nuclear reactor, last
August. Iran said in September that staff computers at Bushehr had been
hit but that the plant itself was unharmed.
Bushehr is still not operational, having missed several start-up
deadlines. This has prompted speculation that Stuxnet damaged the plant,
something Iran denies.
Officials have said the virus could have posed a major risk had it not
been discovered and dealt with before any major damage was done.
Some defense analysts say the main target was more likely to be Iran's
uranium enrichment program. Enrichment creates fuel for nuclear power
plants or, if pursued to a much higher degree, can provide material for
an atomic bomb.
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."
He urged the government to take action against the enemies he said were waging cyber war on Iran.
"Perhaps the Foreign Ministry had overlooked the options to legally
pursue the case, and it seems our diplomatic apparatus should pay more
attention to follow up the cyber wars staged against Iran," Jalali said.