Iran admits 'software' disrupted nuclear programme

Iranian president confirms outside software caused problems with uranium processing

Tags: Cyber crimeIranMalware
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Iran admits 'software' disrupted nuclear programme Ahmadinejad spoke at press conference which covered both the software problems with its nuclear programme, and the recent apparent assasination of two nuclear scientists. (Getty Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  November 30, 2010

Iran has confirmed that "software" issues were behind disruption of work on its nuclear programme.

Speaking at a press conference in Tehran yesterday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted that Iran's nuclear research program had been hit by software problems that affected centrifuges used for uranium enrichment, blaming ‘enemies of Iran'.

Ahmadinejad stated: "They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts. Our specialists stopped that and they will not be able to do it again."

Security researchers investigating the Stuxnet worm, which is widely believed to have been designed to attack control systems of Iran's nuclear programme, had suspected that the worm specifically targeted operation of highly sensitive uranium enrichment centrifuges, but the Iranian announcement marks the first official admission that the attacks appear to have had an impact.

Stuxnet, which was first detected in June this year, is a highly complex worm, which researchers think was designed with the express purpose of attacking industrial control systems in Iran's nuclear plants. The largest proliferation of Stuxnet infection was seen in Iran, and Iranian nuclear authorities admitted in September that they were meeting to discuss the widespread proliferation of the worm in their systems.

The United Nations said that Iran had temporarily halted most of its uranium enrichment efforts earlier this month.

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