web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Virus War Against Iran

Halpern-051812

It’s called the Viper. It is a computer virus. Open it once and it propagates and grows in every other file that is opened.

And last month it struck Iran.

That’s the third computer virus to hit Iran in the past eighteen months. But this one, the Viper, is different from the others.

The Viper targeted oil production and oil transfer components within Iran. It also struck the Oil Ministry. On Sunday April 22, the Oil Ministry was shut down and numerous computers were taken offline in an attempt to protect their programs.

The official response from Iran is that no data was lost. That is a true assertion on its face. But the Viper, like its predecessors Stuxnet and DUQU, the other viruses to be set loose on Iran, are not about gathering data. They are about hijacking the system.

No one actually knows who or what created these viruses although the best bet is Israel. For their part, the Israelis have been mum about this latest and all other virus attacks – just as they are about almost every other attack they perpetrate.

Stuxnet was almost certainly manually introduced into a computer through a memory stick, aka a flash drive. This was the only dimension of the cyber attack that required old-style spy activity. A real living. breathing spy was needed to find a computer that was using Siemens hardware and operating on nuclear enrichment. The operative needed only to insert that drive and then the virus would run its course.

Stuxnet hit Iran in September 2010. The virus originated – entered the Siemens system – in China, probably around February of 2010. Along its travels the Stuxnet virus stopped and left calling cards in North Korea infecting that nation’s nuclear program and causing a series of nuclear research malfunctions.

Slowly it made its way to its eventual and ultimate target – Iran. True to form, it only attacked Siemens products that were connected to and working on nuclear and uranium enrichment. Computers not involved in Siemens or nuclear work were spared; Stuxnet had no impact on their system.

When it did come to rest in Iran the virus struck with such precision that it knocked the Iranian nuclear enrichment program back months. It took nearly a year to clean up the Iranian system and to get it back on line – before it was shot down again, in November 2011, by the DUQU virus.

DUQU is a close cousin of Stuxnet. It is found in font files and takes over the system. It is a sabotage program that has computers literally running on autopilot.

The most wondrous part of these two programs is that after a specified period – for DUQU it was 30 days – they go dormant. They are almost undetectable and when they are detected they show up as having been quarantined by Norton. But they trick the anti-virus program. The attacking virus is still alive and well, just disguised and waiting to once again be awakened and resume operation.

The purpose of these viruses is to corrupt command systems. It is as if they have minds of their own. You want A, you get W, you want W you get R. No rhyme, no reason as far as the computer operators can tell. The viruses confuse, configure and create different and unwanted commands. They cause huge snafus and create deliberate errors and mistakes.

This virus, the Viper, is a very bold strike against the very soft underbelly of Iran. Until now the cyber war was waged against nuclear facilities and research – annoying, to be sure, and a setback to the cause. This attack, though, strikes at the very heart of the Iran’s financial sources and livelihood.

Fifty of the country’s most gifted tech experts were summoned to the Oil Ministry on the Tuesday immediately after the virus was discovered and charged with putting their collective brain power to work to solve the crisis and make certain that the oil industry of Iran is safe.

But Iran is not known for its skill in hacking and counter-cyber warfare. Actually, it is known as a country that contracts out its computer defense. That means Iran’s tech community, along with its hired guns from countries like Russia and Germany, are hard at work trying to contain, protect and then trace the source of the virus.

This might be a mission impossible. We’ll have to wait and see.

Micah D. Halpern is a columnist and social and political commentator. He maintains The Micah Report website (www.micahhalpern.com). His latest book is “Thugs: How History’s Most Notorious Despots Transformed the World through Terror, Tyranny, and Mass Murder” (Thomas Nelson).

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Virus War Against Iran”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Pro-ISIS Group Says ‘Use Ferguson Flames to Fuel Terror in America’
Latest Indepth Stories
Red Line Obama

“What’s a line between friends?”

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

Thousands of rabbis pose in front of Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn on Sunday during the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

Arabs create opening for terrorists to walk the security wall between Ramallah and Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The pogroms in Chevron took place eighty five years ago, in 1929; the Holocaust began seventy-five years ago in 1939; the joint attack of Israel’s neighbors against the Jewish State of Israel happened sixty-six years ago… yet, world history of anti-Semitism did not stop there, but continues until today. Yes, the primitive reality of Jews […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror

Operation Moses: First time in history that non-blacks came to Africa to free blacks from oppression

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

More Articles from Micah D. Halpern
Halpern-081712

I never watched “Candid Camera” when I was a kid. We only watched The Wonderful World of Disney” and “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.”

My parents enforced strict TV rules. But as an adult, when I can watch whatever I please, I really enjoy those old shows and have made up for lost time when it comes to shows like “Candid Camera.”

Halpern-062212

The world famous economist John Kenneth Galbraith said it best:

“There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.”

It’s called the Viper. It is a computer virus. Open it once and it propagates and grows in every other file that is opened.

And last month it struck Iran.

That’s the third computer virus to hit Iran in the past eighteen months. But this one, the Viper, is different from the others.

Saudi Arabia is, to use a term the royals would, “greatly displeased” with the United States. Displeased with U.S. foreign policy regarding Iran and equally displeased with the decisions the White House is making about Syria.

The real heroes of our age are pencil-protector geeks. They sit at home, behind their keyboards, determining the rules of the game that you and I live by – and we trust them to do so. They love toys. They love games. They enjoy battle. They are at the forefront of the cyber war that is enveloping the world.

The White House was misled by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. And that does not surprise me.

Publicly, the White House is saying that nothing in the relationship between Barak, who just this week left the Labor Party to form a new political faction, and the administration has changed. Privately, the White House is expressing disappointment, frustration and even anger.

Israel, the Palestinians, the United States. Each party is banking on the other. The Palestinians and the Israelis are banking on the failure of the resumption of direct talks. The United States is banking on the talks to succeed.

I am an equal opportunity critic. Critique is one of the tools I use to ferret out the truth. I monitor the actions and pay close attention to the words, the deeds and the decrees of world leaders and when I find fault with them, I point it out to the public.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-virus-war-against-iran/2012/05/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: