It’s going to be even harder for President Obama to distance himself from Stuxnet now. As Reuters reports, Kaspersky Lab, a leading computer security firm in Moscow, has discovered that portions of code in the newer Flame virus are “nearly identical” to code in Stuxnet, the cyber weapon reportedly used by the United States and Israel to disrupt Iran’s nuclear initiatives.
This new discovery is likely to fuel theories from security experts that Stuxnet was part of an American-led cyber program “that is still active in the Middle East and perhaps other parts of the world,” says Reuters. Not the best way to win those hearts and minds!
Kaspersky Labs is the same firm that discovered Flame last month. CEO Eugene Kaspersky said portions of Flame’s software code matched code from a 2009 version of Stuxnet. Stuxnet was discovered in 2010 after it hacked an Iranian nuclear facility in Natanz, damaging centrifuges used to enrich uranium. At a Reuters summit in London today, Mr. Kaspersky said, “There were two different teams working in collaboration,” on Stuxnet and Flame.
Authorities in Washington are busy distracting the public with investigations into the source of the leaks. But meanwhile, Israel is trying to get its name attached to the cyber attacks. This weekend, an article in Haaretz quoted anonymous Israeli agents insisting it was Mossad and not the U.S. that developed Stuxnet.
As Haaretz’s Yossi Melman wrote:
“The Israeli officials actually told me a different version. They said that it was Israeli intelligence that began, a few years earlier, a cyberspace campaign to damage and slow down Iran’s nuclear intentions. And only later they managed to convince the USA to consider a joint operation — which, at the time, was unheard of. Even friendly nations are hesitant to share their technological and intelligence resources against a common enemy.”
If the Mossad agents are willing to talk, we’re sure John McCain would like a word.