Iranian media are reporting that the country has managed to repel a new cyber attack on its industrial facilities, which it claims is evidence that its enemies are engaged in “non-stop attacks” against its infrastructure.
The attack allegedly occurred at a nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bandar Abbas a few months ago, reports the BBC. However, unlike with previous malware attacks, officials claim that they spotted the infiltration and prevented it from spreading outside of the facility.
Iranian news agency ISNA quoted Iranian civil defense official Ali Akbar Akhavan as saying:
“A virus had penetrated some manufacturing industries in Hormuzgan province, but its progress was halted with … the cooperation of skilled hackers.”
According to Akhavan, the latest malware bore striking similarities to the Stuxnet virus that has already caused massive damage to Iran’s cyber-infrastructure, although he emphasized that this was a “new threat”, without elaborating any further.
Stuxnet was only discovered in the summer of 2010, although security firm Kaspersky Labs believes that the virus first began spreading around 2009. It’s widely believed that Stuxnet was developed by US or Israeli intelligence services in order to slow down Iran’s progress with its uranium enrichment operations.
This latest attack appears to have been targeted at the Bandar Abbas Tavanir Co., power plant, which produces and distributes electricity for several of Iran’s southern provinces. It’s unclear whether or not this facility is linked to Iran’s nuclear program in any way.
Akhavan said that the attack was just the latest in a long line of cyber attacks on Iran’s infrastructure, without elaborating on how much damage had been caused to the country. In the past, Iranian officials have admitted to suffering some serious setbacks that brought its nuclear enrichment efforts to a halt, while its oil sector is also thought to have suffered serious damage in the past.
Neither the US or Israel has ever owned up to carrying out such attacks, but both Iran and Kaspersky Labs have said that the malware could only have been developed with the assistance of a nation state.