Israel silent as Iran hit by computer virus more violent than Stuxnet
Tehran strategic networks attacked, Hadashot TV says, hours after Israel revealed it tipped off Denmark about Iran murder plot, and days after Rouhani's phone was found bugged
31 October 2018
Iranian infrastructure and strategic networks have come under attack in
the last few days by a computer virus similar to Stuxnet but “more
violent, more advanced and more sophisticated,” and Israeli officials
are refusing to discuss what role, if any, they may have had in the
operation, an Israeli TV report said Wednesday.
The report came hours after Israel said its Mossad intelligence agency
had thwarted an Iranian murder plot in Denmark, and two days after Iran acknowledged that President Hassan Rouhani's mobile phone had been
bugged. It also follows a string of Israeli intelligence coups against
Iran, including the extraction from Tehran in January by the Mossad of
the contents of a vast archive documenting Iran's nuclear weapons
program, and the detailing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the
UN in September of other alleged Iranian nuclear and missile assets
inside Iran, in Syria and in Lebanon.
“Remember Stuxnet, the virus that penetrated the computers of the
Iranian nuclear industry?” the report on Israel's Hadashot news asked.
Iran “has admitted in the past few days that it is again facing a
similar attack, from a more violent, more advanced and more
sophisticated virus than before, that has hit infrastructure and
The Iranians, the TV report went on, are “not admitting, of course, how
much damage has been caused.”
On Sunday, Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran's civil defense agency,
said Tehran had neutralized a new version of Stuxnet, Reuters reported. “Recently we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet which consisted of
several parts … and was trying to enter our systems,” Jalali said.
The Stuxnet virus was uncovered some eight years ago, and was widely
reported to have been developed together by US and Israeli intelligence.
It penetrated Iran's rogue nuclear program, taking control and
sabotaging parts of its enrichment processes by speeding up its centrifuges.
Netanyahu is adamant that the Iranian regime remains determined to
attain a nuclear weapons arsenal, and has bitterly opposed the P5+1
powers' 2015 deal with Iran. US President Donald Trump, with whom
Netanyahu is closely allied, withdrew from the accord in May.
Referring to Stuxnet, Wednesday's TV report noted that “in the past, the
US and Israel have been alleged to have worked together on operations.”
Trying to establish whether Israel had any role in the latest
cyberattack, the TV report said: “We've tried to clarify here. They're refusing to comment.”
The TV report noted that “behind the scenes lately, the Mossad,” under
its director Yossi Cohen, has been “fighting a real shadow war.”
Without attributing responsibility to the Mossad, the report mentioned
the tapping of Rouhani's phone, noting that the Iranians “had to switch
it for an encrypted model because they understand that someone has been listening to him for days and weeks.”
On Sunday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged
intensified efforts to counter enemy “infiltration,” Reuters said.
In a speech to officials in charge of cyber defense, Khamenei said: “In
the face of the enemy's complex practices, our civil defense should…
confront infiltration through scientific, accurate, and up-to-date…
action,” the report said, quoting Iranian state TV.
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli officials said the Mossad provided its Danish counterpart with information concerning an alleged plot by Tehran to assassinate three Iranian opposition figures living in the Scandinavian country. According to the officials, the Mossad gave Denmark information
about a plot to kill three Iranians suspected of belonging to the
anti-regime Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz.
The intelligence reportedly provided by the Mossad prompted the arrest
of a Norwegian national of Iranian origin earlier this month. Denmark on Tuesday recalled its ambassador to Iran over the incident.
“What Iran hides, Israel will find,” Netanyahu declared in his September