The worm seems to be designed to focus on very specific systems, differentiating between industrial computers “without human assistance,” according to German researcher Ralph Langner:
Stuxnet is the key for a very specific lock—in fact, there is only one lock in the world that it will open. The whole attack is not at all about stealing data but about manipulation of a specific industrial process at a specific moment in time. This is not generic. It is about destroying that process.
Iranian news agencies are confirming that the attack is happening. According to the Mehr News Agency, however, the worm is “designed to transfer data about production lines from our industrial plants to (locations) outside of the country.” They claim that they are “successfully battling” this cyberattack, which may cripple the Bushehr nuclear plant. This plant – which is Russian-built but has Siemens computer systems – is allegedly being used to enrich uranium for the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
The Pentagon is now being accused on working with the friendly German intelligence services to create the Stuxnet virus. Pentagon’s spokesman Colonel David Lapan said the Department of defence can “neither confirm nor deny” reports that it launched this attack. If the attack came indeed from the US, experts say, it would have been created and launched under President Obama’s orders. [Fox News and Christian Science Monitor via AP and The Atlantic]