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Obama stepped up cyber attacks on Iran: Report

US President Barack Obama accelerates cyber attacks on Iran aimed at preventing the Islamic state from developing nuclear weapons, an operation that began under Obama's predecessor George W. Bush

AFP , Friday 1 Jun 2012
Obama
Former U.S. President George W. Bush (L) walks next to U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) while before the unveiling of the Bushs' official White House portraits in the East Room of the White House in Washington May 31, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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US President Barack Obama accelerated cyberattacks on Iran's nuclear program and expanded the assault even after the Stuxnet virus accidentally escaped in 2010, the New York Times reported Friday.

The operation, begun under president George W. Bush and codenamed "Olympic Games," is the first known sustained US cyberattack ever launched on another country, and used malicious code developed with Israel, the Times said.

The Times said the article was based on 18 months of interviews with current and former US, European and Israeli officials, and was adapted from the book "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power," by David Sanger, set to be published next week.

The cyberattack, aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and keeping Israel from launching a preventive military strike, sowed widespread confusion in Iran's Natanz nuclear plant, the Times said.

However, top administration officials considered suspending it after Stuxnet -- a complex virus developed jointly with Israel -- "escaped" the facility and began appearing in computer systems in several countries, the Times said.

Obama eventually ordered the attacks to continue, and within a week of Stuxnet's escape a newer version of the bug temporarily brought down 1,000 of Iran's 5,000 nuclear centrifuges spinning at the time, the Times said.

Experts have long suspected that Stuxnet, which targeted computer control systems made by German industrial giant Siemens, was of US and Israeli origin, but neither country has admitted to having a hand in it.

The United States and Israel have long accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons in the guise of a civilian program, charges denied by Tehran, which insists its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.

The Times article comes days after experts at Russia's Kaspersky Lab, a top anti-virus software firm, discovered "Flame," a sophisticated virus several times larger than Stuxnet that also seems to have been aimed at Iran.

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kafantaris
01-06-2012 06:27pm
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We squander our unique opportunity to fashion a more just and fair world.
Only four countries had the technical know-how to develop the Flame virus: "Israel, the U.S., China and Russia." Since the virus was obviously intended for Iran, we can eliminate its friends China and Russia. This leaves only Israel and us. Having thoroughly demonized Iran, anything we do to it has become fair game. But there is nothing fair or right about taking another country's data. Certainly we would not want China or Russia taking our data and spreading it to 80 separate servers. As a leader of the world community aspiring for governance through universal fairness, we can no longer afford to follow the beaten path of expediency chosen by Israel. Doing so will not only deprive us of our moral authority, but will also squander our unique opportunity to fashion a more just and fair world.
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