NYTimes Front Page: Computer worm used by U.S. to attack nuclear facilities ‘had broken free, like a zoo animal that found the keys to the cage’ — In 2010 ‘it began replicating itself all around the world’

Published: June 2nd, 2012 at 1:39 pm ET


Obama Ordered Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran
New York Times
David Sanger
June 1, 2012

From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities


In the summer of 2010, shortly after a new variant of the worm had been sent into Natanz [Iran’s nuclear power plant], it became clear that the worm, which was never supposed to leave the Natanz machines, had broken free, like a zoo animal that found the keys to the cage.


When the engineer left Natanz and connected the computer to the Internet, the American- and Israeli-made bug failed to recognize that its environment had changed. It began replicating itself all around the world.


“We think there was a modification done by the Israelis,” one of the briefers told the president, “and we don’t know if we were part of that activity.”

Mr. Obama, according to officials in the room, asked a series of questions, fearful that the code could do damage outside the plant. The answers came back in hedged terms. Mr. Biden fumed. “It’s got to be the Israelis,” he said. “They went too far.”


Published: June 2nd, 2012 at 1:39 pm ET


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67 comments to NYTimes Front Page: Computer worm used by U.S. to attack nuclear facilities ‘had broken free, like a zoo animal that found the keys to the cage’ — In 2010 ‘it began replicating itself all around the world’

  • Jebus Jebus

    Lol, admin, what have you done!….

    Could this be damage control?
    Could this be the scapegoat for Fukushima?
    Could this be an election issue?

    • ENENews

      I know, had to double take to make sure I was actually on the NYT website. Perhaps Sanger will follow up with whether it caused any harm outside of Iran.

      • Jebus Jebus

        It does have tremendous potential to connect to and bring awareness to Fukushima…

      • Anthony Anthony


      • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

        Admin: Now you know, Admin, that once the ENEnews about this Stuxnet cyberweapon gets out, that all hell is going to break loose, don't you? Soon, there will be proof out here that Someone used Stuxnet to bring down Fuku. Thought you didn't want to go down this road. Just saying. BTW, good job. This needs to see the light of day. If true, let the chips fall.

  • Sam Sam

    Promethean blow back!
    Solutions often times have unknown
    ramifications. The infections spread
    uncontrolled.! Nuclear fuel rods in the
    brains of Promethean inventors who
    concoct such cyber-warfare.
    radiation induced madness.

  • goathead goathead

    Conspiracy theories??? There are no conspiracy theories!!!!!!!

    "New cybervirus found in Japan / Stuxnet designed to attack off-line servers via USB memory sticks


    "Stuxnet could harm nuclear safety: U.N. atom chief | Reuters"


    • Jebus Jebus

      Funny how an electronic virus follows the same paths as the human kind….

      • Jebus Jebus


        Japan-Iran Foreign Relations
        By Ariel Farrar-Wellman, Robert Frasco
        June 28, 2010

        "Iran and Japan voiced their readiness at the end of December 2009 to collaborate in the nuclear arena. In a meeting with Japanese Ambassador Akio Shirota, Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated that Tehran would welcome nuclear cooperation with Tokyo. Boroujerdi, who is the chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, also acknowledged that Iran is interested in enhancing ties with Tokyo in all areas, saying that there is great potential for both countries to cooperate
        for joint benefit.[9] Shirota, for his part, underscored the important role of parliament in bolstering the two countries' relations and noted that "Japan's house of representatives wants [an] expansion of ties and friendly interactions with the Iranian parliament."[10] More specifically, Chairman Boroujerdi has indicated that his country is prepared to accept Japanese investment in Iran’s nuclear sector. During a February 2010 meeting with the Japanese Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Boroujerdi stated that the opportunity exists for Japan to participate in the construction of five nuclear power plants within the Islamic Republic.[11]"


        • goathead goathead

          The other thing that pissed Israel off is the fact that around the same time Japan had openly and officially criticised Israel for building illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land!!! Go figure!!!!

        • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

          Jebus: And so Japan becomes Israel's enemy.

  • mikael

    Whos to blame, for the failure of restatring the Fukushima site.
    Mainly runn by SiemensPLS, the wery target for the Stuxnet, otherwise its usless, to work it have to be inside and delivered.

    Are the Nuclear acsident a cowerup for just that, eraze the threads from the Virus. An Israeli sec. company at the gate, military runn fasility, Fukushima is it all.

    What a sick fu… goverment that runs the lunatic asylum Israel/USA. The same fu..that destoryed our planet, and the scumb… are just seving driwell.
    This is the deathpenalty for any resaonable sane policy, we where fu.. because of the waccos paranoia about Iran.

    This is also a sad reminder of general stupidity and ignorance, a human caractrestics that will eventualy kill us all.


    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

      and Siemens has left the nuke biz.. hmmm.. very interesting when considering this..


    • Terranigma1 Terranigma1

      "Obama govt. leaked details of anti-Iran operation: McCain"

      "US Senator John McCain has accused the White House of leaking details of a cyber attack and other secret operations against Iran in order to increase his chances in the upcoming elections"

      The New York Times reported on Friday that Obama secretly ordered a cyber attack with the Stuxnet computer virus against Iran to sabotage the country’s nuclear energy program “from his first months in office.”

      “Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks – begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games – even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error,” the report added."

      (What goes around comes around. Talk about biting yourself in the butt!)


    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      It seems that there are a number of countries destroying the planet: Russia, France, UK Now also with nuclear technology: Japan, Germany, Iran, India, Pakistan, etc. Let's not be selective with the blame game.

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      mikael, I never bother to read your comments, as they are usually illegible. If you want to contribute here, then I ask you to please change your writing style,

  • CaptD CaptD

    Amazing that it ONLY took TWO YEARS to become public knowledge…

    I now feel so much better that ALL new reactors,
    … Will be 100% computer controlled
    ……… N☢T ………

    Anybody remember the movie WarGames…?

    • MoonlightEmpire MoonlightEmpire

      yes I do.

      one of my favorite quotes from it (loosely off memory):

      "What a strange game nuclear is…
      When the only way to win, is not to play the game."

      • aigeezer aigeezer

        That's delicious, MoonlightEmpire. I hadn't seen it before.

        Amazingly, all the government/industry entities that play the game know that concept, acknowledge it (e.g. Mutually Assured Destruction policies), and play the game anyway.

        Here's one possible antidote to that kind of Monty Python reasoning:


        I suppose mass biosphere dieoffs might also convince governments that something isn't right about nuclear power, but you never know until you try.

      • Yep that one stuck in my memory, although I considered it only to be nuke war, however, nuke energy is in fact nuke war on humanity in an even more insidious form.

  • ncmissouri

    Who's to say that maybe the Iranians spread it after they discovered it. I wouldn't put it past them to do it on purpose.

  • richard richard

    What doesn't surprise me is Biden stating the Israelis went too far. They've been pushing too far for a long time on the world political/nuke front. He should've added 'again'.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Another reason why countries should Not build these dangerous plants.

    Nuclear Plants and Nuclear Weapons..Same thing..Same place

    Stop playing radiation war games..No country wins..

    ~End Nuclear Power~

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      WSP: Please! End nuclear power now! Right here and now is the death of Nuke Power, thanks to ENEnews getting on board. This is Biblical, reading ENEnews right now: It is like unto…
      "Hearing the sound of a trumpet sounding a terrible sound, so that even the very worst of the works of mankind were brought down on the heads of all those who had made them, and on the heads of all those who had profited from them. Woe unto the nuke criminals in this time, the hour of their downfall. For the wrath of the people and the wrath of their God will tear down all of their evil works and cast them into the sea.". Just saying…

  • goathead goathead

    It looks good on paper doesn't it until someone builds it and it's being run by humans!!!!

  • Something tells me, lacking a full knowledge of consequences, it is very irresponsible to let loose a virus in a nuclear power plant.

    All very well to claim honors over doing damage to a so-called 'enemy' (and the U.S. makes sure to always have one – as per orders from the military-industrial complex) but is there any thought whatsoever to the women, children and other people that are affected for thousands of years from these decisions?

    Or, has Obama been watching too many movies?

    Well, here's the way I look at:

    Anyone who thinks of building nuclear plants or bombs, has already built them, who harbors those who build them, who finances or abets those who use them, who uses them in the field of conflict, should be examined before an international court.

    • Having dealt with viruses in a cleanroom environment (Nortel) I might suggest at the very least:

      1. ban use of USB sticks until further notice
      2. scan all computers for viruses
      3. remove any viruses currently resident
      4. set up a virus shield for any further incoming viruses (AVG or other reputable virus-checker/remover)
      5. educate all workers as to possible threats – disseminate lots of info via email or other means
      6. don't be fooled or intimidated by CIA techniques – learn everything about the virus possible – preferably: hire a hacker or learn how to hack yourself


      • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

        Pu23: Or, just back off and let 'em (those viruses) roll on and on. The world might be the poorer for it, but again, we might all be better off if industrial processes were to be shut down completely, and if any chemicals needed for the village were to be made by hand in small batches. Me, I'll get me an old Leffel water wheel on a little river, and run a grist mill for those who grow grain, and make a little electric power for those who need it to make things needed by our village, or for trade. So long, big business. Didn't really need 'ya, glad to be without 'ya!

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      Pu239: 100% agree. Would add only the following: "Or who profits from them". "Shame on all who would profit from nuke power, for they shall suffer nuke contamination for all their generations, until the end of time."

  • jackassrig

    hal-pc.org has posted an Internet warning for July 9. This organization is for the most part run by volunteers-computer nutz. They also recomend a FBI where you can test your computer. I believe this to be important because they will issue warning only if it serious.

  • CaptD CaptD

    If man can program it then other men can add bugs to it…

    No Reactors = NO Reactor RISK…

    For that reason alone we need to de-commission all reactors….

    What Country can afford to have or be downwind from a meltdown and the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster it causes…

    Ask The Japanese!

    • +1 Ask future generations. Ask the planet.

      What would their answers be? What will be their estimated risk levels be?. Probably should think about that for second.

      Multiple choice:
      A. No Reactors = NO Reactor RISK…
      B. NO Reactor RISK = No Reactors…
      C. All of the above.

      hmmm… thinking…?

  • TalonThorn

    Classic human nature. If your bad deed goes wrong, blame your ally.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    “Iran initially denied that its enrichment facilities had been hit by Stuxnet, then said it had found the worm and contained it. Last year, the nation announced that it had begun its own military cyberunit, and Brig. Gen. Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran’s Passive Defense Organization, said that the Iranian military was prepared “to fight our enemies” in “cyberspace and Internet warfare ….”

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    "No Reactors = NO Reactor RISK…"

    Yep, they must be outlawed.

  • coouurt

    this is what I get from this:

    Obama(or subsequent lackey): shit guys, we sorta screwed up, how are we going to get public support to go to war with Iran?

    other flunkey: I don't think they'll buy the oil crap anymore….how about cyber war?

    yes-man: yeah! and people are concerned about their seafood now that this FINALLY got out (laughs)….let's 'suggest' the Iranians were involved with Fukushima and see what happens.

    lackey: I think they'll buy it…* dramatically slams fist on desk*

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    it is time to wake up… and start living as soul, not as an ego based warlike animal.

    American Indian Prophecy, Living As Soul on Earth; via A Green Road Blog http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/04/american-indian-prophecies-and-way-of.html

  • Cisco Cisco

    Right AGreenRoad…

    It's "we'll talk and report about cesium” because that’s the one, that sounds least scary. Never mind there’s a whole bunch of other radionuclides that have been released into the air and into the Pacific ocean. These radioactive isotopes traveling with the winds and water, sometimes traveling along with the cesium, sometimes not; but, the one in particular, the nastiest and scariest of all is dreaded Plutonium. It’s hardly even mentioned by the MSM.

    And, that’s in our backyards and bio-accumulating with every passing day.

    Is this a great country or what!

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Maybe we should count our blessings in this?

    We can be grateful that the Stuxnet worm has not eaten plutonium and infected every human on the planet, with a plutonium laced worm that eats people from the inside out.

    Now that would be BAD news…and probably make a good horror movie.. Super zombies infecting 'normal' people with Stuxnet worms via the Internet, emails, portable drives, and by handshakes via nano sized bucky ball, plutonium particles.

    Any movie directors out there? We can help fill in the script and make this a blockbuster movie…

    There is light in every bad situation, no matter how dark it is.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Yes, let us give thanks for our blessings, no matter how aberrant they may seem. AGR, thanks for a good chuckle. I needed that.

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    The important thing is not to live in fear, because that only attracts what the focus is…

    If we can stay in love, while taking actions to move beyond nuclear, that is the best possible thing we can do.

    I would post a link about this, but I maxed out in this thread… 🙁

  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    This seems to be a variant on the "gray goo" scenerio. In "gray goo", we have a fictious scenerio where somebody with graduate school lab experience releases into the world a nano-robot whose only job is to take whatever matter surrounds it, and to replicate itself. The Earth slowly turns into a gray goo, as nanobots slowly proceed to turn all the matter on Earth into replicas of itself. Except that here we have a bug called Stuxnet (released by Israel and/or the US) that can bring down nearly all computer-controlled manufacturing or fluid control systems in the world. Stuxnet learns what the acceptable levels for a controlled process are, then keeps parameters within allowable levels, while trashing the system. It also allows anybody connected to an infected system to give orders which can fool operators into thinking that operations are normal, while at the same time bringing the system into a state of chaos and destruction. Industrial/cyber gray goo. Seems like Obama knows about Stuxnet, but blames Israel for developing it, and for releasing it across the world. Expect a 1,000 Bhopal (India) and 400 Fuku (Japan) disasters to follow from this.

  • Max

    Agreed philip.

    Of putting lives at risk, Stuxnet which has been open source now for years inspiring coders of all walks has potential to be most devastating weapon every created.

    "The FBI’s gumshoes are trying to find out who disclosed details of Olympic Games, the codeword for the ambitious initiative to develop cyber-weapons such as Stuxnet." – http://www.economist.com/node/21556569?fsrc=scn/tw/te/ar/seekandhide

    Should have thought of that before creating the thing? Stanley Milgram Experiment results taught us one in one hundred primates will think and act for themselves. In current times I suspect that number is rising.

    Not all whom stand up have the luxury of reason in how they approach fighting oppression. A morally vacant policy created Stuxnet, now it's into the wild.

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    Like an animal that found the keys to a cage. ROOOOOIT!

    Self replicating computer virus. Typical hacker stuff.

    Can anyone say C-I-A ?

  • Sickputer

    I have been alive in seven decades, worked with computers in five decades and I have never seen malware that could produce a 9.0 earthquake.

    Terrible things can happen with loss of water and electricity to nuclear plants, but unless you think the verboten secret project HAARP created the 9.0 earthquake (feasible, but I remain unconvinced) then explain to me the virus ability to induce the Fukushima quad unit meltdown.

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      Sickputer: Several theories circulating on this point. Virus might have been activated when EQ occurred naturally. Or, 9.0EQ was a fabrication to cover a nuke attack on Fuku. Have heard that Japan abd Alaska HAARP was fired up day before 3/11 EQ. Take your pick. Google "3/11 was Japan's 9/11" to find best collection of evidence. Not saying you will like what you find. Not saying yet what I think of all this. This thread just seems to hang on and on. Admin, is it time to replace this with newer topics?

      • Sickputer

        Lots of speculation, but IMHO earthquakes don't deal in intrigue, they just show how puny we are on the planet. Add in our dabbling in Dr. Frankenstein science and we prove we are the despoilers of our planet for lifeforms.

        The planet itself will recover from our madness, but we may not do so well. Mankind in general has absolutely no self-control for the future. I have seen a South Texas cougar do the same thing…kill 300 sheep in one night, piled up like it was playing with them. Perhaps to teach its cubs to hunt, but wasteful of its food supply.

        For all the trappings of civilization naked apes remain an animal species that is the most ferocious predator in the past 90 million years. One day this planet may go cold from a burnout of the sun or perhaps an asteroid will plunge earth into murky darkness for centuries. Could mankind survive those far more formidable cosmic events?

        We kill our environment so quickly now that we will have scarce time to worry about the next 10,000 years. Some of us see back in time so well… But our leaders see ahead so poorly.

  • Insight

    Eugene Kaspersky, whose lab discovered the Flame virus that has attacked computers in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East, said only a global effort could stop a new era of "cyber terrorism".

    "It's not cyber war, it's cyber terrorism and I'm afraid it's just the beginning of the game … I'm afraid it will be the end of the world as we know it," Kaspersky told reporters at a cyber security conference. "I'm scared, believe me," he said.

    News of the Flame virus surfaced last week. Researchers said technical evidence suggests it was built for the same nation or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran's nuclear program in 2010.

  • RichardPerry

    Japan has plenty of fuel to sell and I do not think they care who will buy it.