This is one of the most amazing stories I have read all year, it’s mind-boggling in its complexity, planning and execution. For me it was the type of thing that you read and hangs in your mind for days after, a bit like watching Inception.
It centres around Iran’s nuclear facilities and what ultimately lead to damage that would delay any uranium or nuclear fuel being processed for months if not years.
This was all done by a highly sophisticated computer virus, which might not sound a big surprise but Iran’s nuclear facility is not connected to the web, it located several stories underground with no outside connections.
The virus was released into Iran travelling from computer to computer infecting up to 30,000 PCs in the country (100,000 globally, but causing no damage), with the goal of reaching one belonging to a nuclear scientist in the hope they would one day take something on a external flash drive back into the facility.
Think about that for a second, the huge amount of patience and luck involved for that to finally happen is amazing.
Once it got into the complex it activated, the worm spread through the computer systems, looking for one specific component, frequency converters manufactured by Siemens which regulate the speed of spinning centrifuges used to create nuclear fuel.
The virus began to take control of the speed, turning them fast enough that they would be damaged but not destroyed, hiding its tracks along the way.
No one knows exactly how long that infiltration took but the estimates range from 18+ months, while the worm itself took over 10,000 man hours to construct and has been dubbed the first “weaponised” computer virus. A virus that didn’t just mess with your PC but could attack power stations, oil pipelines and nuclear plants.
Scary but amazing at the same time. Who needs Jack Bauer these days?