Was Bushehr Bushwhacked?

A low level story from Christian Science Monitor that hasn’t risen above most folk’s radar yet, but arguably much more important than the other things we have been arguing about recently. Since this happens to be my professional area of expertise, I’ve been tracking the appearance of the Stuxnet worm since June. But even I am surprised by this turn of events.

Stuxnet is a 100-percent-directed cyber attack aimed at destroying an industrial process in the physical world,” says Langner, who last week became the first to publicly detail Stuxnet’s destructive purpose and its authors’ malicious intent. “This is not about espionage, as some have said. This is a 100 percent sabotage attack.

But what is the target? Well it appears that it may be Iran’s Bushehr reactor, and that the missile hit its target.

A geographical distribution of computers hit by Stuxnet, which Microsoft produced in July, found Iran to be the apparent epicenter of the Stuxnet infections. That suggests that any enemy of Iran with advanced cyber war capability might be involved, Langner says. The US is acknowledged to have that ability, and Israel is also reported to have a formidable offensive cyber-war-fighting capability.

Could Stuxnet’s target be Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, a facility much of the world condemns as a nuclear weapons threat?

Langner is quick to note that his views on Stuxnet’s target is speculation based on suggestive threads he has seen in the media. Still, he suspects that the Bushehr plant may already have been wrecked by Stuxnet. Bushehr’s expected startup in late August has been delayed, he notes, for unknown reasons. (One Iranian official blamed the delay on hot weather.)

I wish I had to the time to provide a detailed discussion, so I need to leave this where it is. But this is a fascinating story.