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Report: Computer Worm Sets Back Iranian Nuke Program by 2 Years

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Stuxnet virus, a computer worm that has attacked Iran's nuclear facilities, has set back the Islamic Republic's nuclear program by two years. A "top German computer consultant" tells the Post that "it will take two years for Iran to get back on track."

"This was nearly as effective as a military strike," the German said, "but even better since there are no fatalities and no full-blown war. From a military perspective, this was a huge success."

According to Langer, Iran’s best move would be to throw out all of the computers that have been infected by the worm, which he said was the most “advanced and aggressive malware in history.” But, he said, even once all of the computers were thrown out, Iran would have to ensure that computers used by outside contractors were also clean of Stuxnet.

“It is extremely difficult to clean up installations from Stuxnet, and we know that Iran is no good in IT [information technology] security, and they are just beginning to learn what this all means,” he said. “Just to get their systems running again they have to get rid of the virus, and this will take time, and then they need to replace the equipment, and they have to rebuild the centrifuges at Natanz and possibly buy a new turbine for Bushehr.”

Recent news reports have suggested Iran is still working to contain the damage of the Stuxnet worm. In November, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nation's nuclear watchdog, reported that Iran had suspended work, likely as a result of the virus' damage.

Perhaps the only way to rid their system of the Stuxnet worm is to discard all infected computer equipment, including outside computers that may be infected.

There has been speculation that Israel's Military Intelligence Unit 8200 was a possible source of the Stuxnet worm, as well as the United States.

Widespread speculation has named Israel’s Military Intelligence Unit 8200, known for its advanced Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities, as the possible creator of the software, as well as the United States, but neither country has claimed any responsibility for the cyber attack. Others have suspected China may also have had a hand in the Stuxnet's creation, but no rumor can be completely confirmed.

One last thing…
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