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Iran Discovers Second Virus Aimed at Damaging Government Systems

April 26, 2011

Bloomberg, 26 April 2011: Iran has detected a second “spy virus” designed to harm government systems, a senior Iranian military official said.

Local scientists discovered the computer virus, Gholam-Reza Jalali, head of an Iranian cyberdefense agency, said on the organization’s website. He added that the virus is being investigated and that Iran needs to counter further such attacks.

“In the initial stage, the damage is low and it is likely to be mistaken for some of the executable files of the governmental institutions,” Jalali said of the virus, which he called “Stars.” He didn’t specify when Iranian specialists detected the malicious software or what equipment it targeted.

Last year, Iranian officials said a malware known as Stuxnet affected some of the country’s computer systems and several centrifuges used to enrich uranium. They subsequently said Iran had regained control of its networks and foiled cyber attacks by “enemies.”

Iran is in dispute over its nuclear program with the U.S. and its allies, which say the country may be trying to develop atomic weapons. Iran rejects the accusation and says the program is purely civilian.

Symantec Corp., the world’s largest maker of computer security software, said in a Nov. 12 study that the Stuxnet virus may have been created to sabotage Iran’s uranium- enrichment work. Some of Iran’s nuclear activities were met with delays following the discovery of the virus.

Iran “needs to prepare itself for future virus attacks,” Jalali said. “It is possible that the future virus turn out to be more dangerous than the initial ones.”

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