According to the website DEBKAfile, an Iranian official has acknowledged that some 30,000 Iranian industrial computers are infected with the Stuxnet malware:
Mahmoud Alyaee, secretary-general of Iran’s industrial computer servers, including its nuclear facilities control systems, confirmed Saturday, Sept. 25, that 30,000 computers belonging to classified industrial units had been infected and disabled by the malicious Stuxnet virus….
Stuxnet is believed to be the most destructive virus ever devised for attacking major industrial complexes, reactors and infrastructure. The experts say it is beyond the capabilities of private or individual hackers and could have been produced by a high-tech state like America or Israel, or its military cyber specialists.
Iranian media reports say the country’s nuclear agency is trying to combat a complex computer worm that has affected industrial sites in Iran and is capable of taking over power plants.
The semi-official ISNA news agency says Iranian nuclear experts met this week to discuss how to remove the malicious computer code, dubbed Stuxnet, which can take over systems that control the inner workings of industrial plants.
Friday’s report said the malware had spread throughout Iran, but did not elaborate. Foreign media reports have speculated the worm was aimed at disrupting Iran’s first nuclear power plant, which is to go online in October.
More on Stuxnet here.
The interesting thing is that regardless of whether the Stuxnet infection actually causes damage, it will have the Iranians worried that at any moment their nuclear systems may shut down, blow up, or otherwise self-destruct. That fear in and of itself may delay the program.
Update: ComputerWorld quotes an Iranian official as saying 30,000 IP addresses were affected which means that the total number of computers infected would be much higher.
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube