IDF cyber defense war room .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM,REUTERS)
A group of former top defense officials on Wednesday cast doubt on the idea that Israel was behind recent cyber spying on the Iran nuclear negotiations, despite accusations from the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.
Two weeks ago, Kaspersky said it identified breaches in its software at three European hotels where Iran nuclear talks took place from a virus using code considered to be a hallmark of Israeli operations, including the Stuxnet virus most say the US and Israel jointly used to sabotage parts of Iran’s nuclear program in 2010.
Former IDF Brig.-Gen. Yair Cohen, speaking at a cyber conference at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday, said “Kaspersky has its own interests” and asked why finding a similar code to Stuxnet was relevant five years later to link the new spying incident to either Israel or the US.
Stuxnet, he said, was made “with $100 million by a superpower” (implying the US) and questioned why such a formidable power would not have changed the code five years later.
While it theoretically could be Israel, Cohen said, it also could be the US or EU and commented sarcastically there was “no sign of the name Shoshanna from Unit 8200 written” on the virus.
Former Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) head Carmi Gillon did not completely disqualify Israel, but also suggested “it could be someone else,” while former IDF Brig.-Gen. Pinchas Barel Buchris said Kaspersky needs to provide more information about “what is in the footprint” that was found and what it was compared to before his accusations against Israel are taken seriously.