A top Iranian official has denied that its controversial nuclear program was targeted by yet another cyber attack.
Indeed, researchers at F-Secure recently reported that the song “Thunderstruck” by rock band AC/DC had played randomly on several workstations belonging to Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) – with the volume set to full.
In addition to playing loud music, the virus apparently managed to close down the automation network at Iran’s heavily fortified Natanz and Fordo nuclear facilities.
“Who seriously believes such a story? It is baseless and there has never been such a thing,” Chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI), Fereydoun Abbasi, told the official ISNA news agency.
It should be noted that the Obama administration has reportedly ordered “increasingly sophisticated” cyber attacks against Iranian networks linked to nuclear enrichment facilities.
According to David E. Sanger of the New York Times, Obama decided to accelerate the attacks – begun during the Bush administration – even after the notorious Stuxnet worm escaped the confines of Iran’s Natanz plant. Natanz was subsequently hit by a new version of the computer worm, which temporarily disabled nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 spinning centrifuges designed to purify uranium.
As Sanger points out, the cyber campaign, code-named Olympic Games, appears to be the first time the United States repeatedly used cyber-weapons to cripple another country’s infrastructure.
“Previous cyberattacks had effects limited to other computers,” confirmed Michael V. Hayden, the former chief of the CIA. “This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction… Somebody crossed the Rubicon [with Stuxnet].”