There has been a recent flurry of discussion online about a piece of malware that targets the control systems of industrial facilities – specifically, one that seems designed to sabotage one particular facility. The speculation is that the target is either the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran or Iran’s uranium enriching centrifuge cascades at Natanz. If so, the idea would presumably be to slow down the development of Iranian nuclear weapons.
The sophistication of the worm has led many security researchers to speculate that only a nation state would have the resources to assemble it. That said, there are a great many unknown factors in play. The entire situation could be someone’s attempt at misdirection, or making a threat. Assuming the basic elements of speculation are correct, this would be an interesting development in unconventional military tactics. It probably wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented, however. There have already been three generations of Suter: a computer program developed by a British defence corporation, designed to interfere with communications and communications systems in a military context. Suter or similar software may have been used in Israel’s 2007 airstrike on a suspected nuclear facility in Syria.