Iran’s state-friendly Fars News Agency issued reports that accuse Israel and Saudi Arabia of plotting to unleash a cyber attack targeting elements of the rogue nation’s ambitious nuclear program with malware similar to the now infamous Stuxnet virus.
An unnamed source familiar with the operation is quoted as stating that “Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency Tamir Bardo sent their representatives to a meeting in Vienna on November 24 to increase the two sides’ cooperation in intelligence and sabotage operations against Iran’s nuclear program.”
“One of the proposals raised in the meeting was the production of a malware worse than the Stuxnet (a comprehensive US-Israeli program designed to disrupt Iran’s nuclear technology) to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran’s nuclear program,” the source continued.
Both Israel and Sudi Arabian officials have denied the accusations.
Stuxnet, which emerged in 2010 and targeted Siemens Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), is thought to have caused severe damage to centrifuges used at Iranian uranium enrichment facilities and set back the the country’s nuclear weapons program by several years.
The malware most likely infected isolated systems by way of removable storage devices like USB flash drives and by exploiting vulnerabilities in Windows systems, then spread within the network when communicating with other connected systems.
Researchers recently warned that Stuxnet may have spread beyond Iran, and has likely infected a number of power plants in other areas of the world.