back to article Stuxnet 2 in the works, claims Iranian news agency

Hold the front page: Saudi Arabian and Israeli spy agencies are developing a worm more powerful than Stuxnet to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program again, after meeting in Vienna last week. Sound a little far-fetched? Well, stranger things have happened but this particular yarn comes from Iran’s FARS news agency, thought to have …

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  1. jake Silver badge

    Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

    I rate their trustworthiness roughly similar to that of North Korea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

      I rate their trustworthiness roughly similar to that of North Korea.

      Do fuck off jake, you tedious Yank.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

        "I rate their trustworthiness roughly similar to that of North Korea.

        Do fuck off jake, you tedious Yank."

        Although to be fair to him, their trustworthiness wasn't helped by the whole "man invents time machine" and Onion-based story things. Although they haven't yet found a bus on the south pole, so they have some way to go.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Chris Wareham Re: Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

        "....Do fuck off jake, you tedious Yank." Gosh, what an intellectual riposte that was, just brimming with eloquent insight into why a Yank's viewpoint should be rated as completely worthless, their input completely unvalued, and why the news organs of the Norks and Iranians should be rated as somehow unquestionable. Oh, actually it just came across as the bigoted, kneejerk response of the typical sheeple. Sheeple gotta hate, I suppose.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Chris Wareham Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

          Matt Bryant: I've worked in the States for extended periods of time, so I've experienced the likes of Fox News, CNN and the news programming on various other US TV channels. It explains the insular, condescending and arrogant attitude that many Americans exhibit. More remarkable than the hilarious and limited coverage of foreign events, was the reaction to the Columbine shootings. This occurred just prior to me working in California for a while, and I watched a lot of shows where everything was blamed for the shootings *except* the ease with which the killers had got hold of their guns. Then there was the reaction to September 11th 2001, where so many Americans believed it was an attack on their way of life by jealous foreigners, not a reaction to decades of bullheaded US intervention abroad.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Chris Wareham Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

            "....I've worked in the States for extended periods of time....." Really? The jet you flew over on must have had extra wide doors to fit that chip on your shoulder.

            "...... so I've experienced the likes of Fox News, CNN and the news programming on various other US TV channels......" Strangely, the many times I've been in the States I've seen nothing more "insular" on their news than in ANY European country. News flash - the news in France mainly deals with news that affects French audiences, same goes for Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, etc.

            ".... It explains the insular, condescending and arrogant attitude that many Americans exhibit....." Or which you wanted to see. TBH, I have seen much more insular and arrogant attitudes in trips to France than anywhe in the US, including such places as famously-"aggressive" New York.

            ".....More remarkable than the hilarious and limited coverage of foreign events....". Quick test - without resorting to checking, name the Irish, French, Spanish, Greek and Polish heads of state. And that's the easy option. Most Yanks I have met can name most of the heads of states for their neighbours such as Canada and Mexico, but most Europeans can't do the same. I have asked that question before in pubs quizs in London to pretty cosmopolitan audiences and they usually fail miserably, usually being able to name only two of the five. A lot of us Europeans like to think we know more about the World than the Yanks but it's often not true.

            ".....This occurred just prior to me working in California for a while, and I watched a lot of shows where everything was blamed for the shootings *except* the ease with which the killers had got hold of their guns....." This shows that YOU approached the issue with the automatic assumption the guns were the problem rather than the people. Perchance, between rabidly shrieking at Fox News reports, did you notice a bit of news the other week about how the Icelandic police had to shoot someone for the first time in their history, despite their country being absolutely awash with guns? The Iceland case (and that of Switzerland, and even the UK with the large number of guns still in private hands) shows the core issue at Columbine was the kids themselves and how they felt failed by the society they lived in.

            ".....Then there was the reaction to September 11th 2001, where so many Americans believed it was an attack on their way of life by jealous foreigners, not a reaction to decades of bullheaded US intervention abroad." You really need to go read a lot more history, the Mulsims have been happily killing each other and neighbours long before the US even existed. Try reading up on the Sunni-Shia schism, it will hopefully explain a lot of the issues you have been told are all due to "bullheaded US intervention". Until then you are just rebleating crap.

            1. BlueGreen

              Re: Chris Wareham Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say? @Plump & Bleaty

              > Strangely, the many times I've been in the States I've seen nothing more "insular" on their news than in ANY European country

              Was it almost too quiet to hear and the picture very dark? Next time turn the television on (hint: press soft, grass-stained nose to the bit next to the red or blue glow).

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: Loser Re: Chris Wareham Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency.....

                Once again, BlueGreen cannot add anything to the conversation. Maybe he should wait until he has finished secondary school and actually gained some experience to build some arguments upon.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth
      WTF?

      Re: Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

      You know the story is fake because of the Dr. Evil-like "$1M". Only an ignorant Iranian propaganda hack would think $1M is enough money to develop a cyberweapon.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

        $1M ~8-10 people working for one year. The ARPANET packet switching IMP program was developed by three people in about a year. Since it was under a US Government contrac, I expect the billed amount was about an order of magnitude more than the implied $300 - 400Kt, though.

    3. NomNomNom

      I rate their trustworthiness roughly similar to that of North Korea.

      or the BBC or Obama

    4. HereWeGoAgain

      Re: Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

      A rather stupid comment. Go and watch Fox News where you can really get 'the truth'.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

      I rate their trustworthiness roughly similar to that of North Korea

      And Fox news.

      And BBC

      in fact pretty much most ones with an heavy editorial policy.

      .

      I'd recommend Al-Jazeera, but as that is highly regarded around the world and tends to report the facts, it may not be your thing.

    6. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

      "I rate their trustworthiness roughly similar to that of North Korea."

      or Fox

      (edit - damn, beaten to it!))

    7. jake Silver badge

      Re: Who the hell cares what any Iranian News Agency has to say?

      Uh ... in reply to pretty much everybody poo-pooing my commentardery above, ask your selves how many alternative news sources do the in situ Iranians & NORKs have?

      And then ask me how much attention I pay to FauxNews, the BBC & other network drek.

      Grow a world view, kiddies. It'll do you a world of good.

  2. Shagbag

    Stuxnet 2? Far fetched?

    Stuxnet 2 was discovered in 2010 when VirusBlokAda stumbled across it. It was only upon its analysis that researchers discovered Stuxnet 1 and traced it back to a 2007 sample code upload to Virustotal. Researchers admit that without Stuxnet 2, it was extremely unlikely Stuxnet 1 would have been discovered.

    So Iran's claim of a new Stuxnet variant (Stuxnet 3) is not far-fetched at all. The success of Stuxnet 1 in remaining hidden for a number of years only to be subsequently discovered by chance, is ample evidence that cyber-warfare is (a) effective, and (b) if done correctly, can remain effective for a long time.

    While Iran - and other countries - continue to pursue a policy of nuclear enrichment (HEU or not), they will remain a target for countries that already possess the technology and do not want to see a proliferation of it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stuxnet 2? Far fetched?

      "So Iran's claim of a new Stuxnet variant (Stuxnet 3) is not far-fetched at all"

      I'm sure it isn't. And the article's claim that Israeli's wouldn't want to upset the Yanks, now THAT'S farsi-cal. The Israeli's regularly wag the US dog.

      Having said that, the whole enrichment programme seems to me to be political theatre by Iran. The two nukes originally used in anger (and the test weapons) were developed using brown paper, string and bits of wood, long before IC controlled centrifuges. Likewise the huge nuclear arsenals built up by the Soviets and the US through the 1950s and early 1960s were designed and constructed without the aid of PCs or the internet. If the Iranians really wanted to create a big bang, they could have done it the old fashioned way in a third of the time that it has apparently taken them to not develop their own big stick, and without the risks from electronic surveillance, hacking or sabotage. The latest "rapprochement" between Iran and the West doesn't seem a real development, simply a fig leaf to cover up th fact that Iran have evidently made no progress on building a bomb, and to continue the myth that they might.

      It's the same with conventional weapons - look at the comedy stealth fighter they displayed, when you don't even need any engineering training to spot that the thing probably couldn't even fly, certainly wouldn't have been capable of either supersonic speeds or weapons delivery, and would have been as stealthy as Coco the Clown. There's lots of clever Iranians, they'd know that nobody would be taken in by that, or by badly photoshopped missile launches, or unevidenced "Islamic monkeys in space" claims.

      So what exactly is the game? Iran doesn't have the forces to pose a credible threat to anybody in the region, other than by sh!tstirring and destabilisation, which are not really different to the activities of anybody else active in the region. The most obvious thing is Iranian gas reserves, but what the tension plays to is keeping those out of the market - why would the Iranian regime wish for that to be the case? Presumably somebody is getting rich on the back of this, and if the Iranian peasantry need to be oppressed then that's just dandy.

    2. g e
      Mushroom

      I'd be amazed if they WEREN'T making one

      OCD-dodgy-swivel-eyed-bastards that they are.

      Like who the hell seriously sits down and design a land mine that pops out of the ground to waist height and then goes off... This is the fucktard mentality of these people.

      Of COURSE they are working on it. It gives them hard-ons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'd be amazed if they WEREN'T making one

        "Like who the hell seriously sits down and design a land mine that pops out of the ground to waist height and then goes off"

        Ruskies, Chinks.....East Europeans, probably Yanks.

        And even then, what of it? Are you implying that blowing up a wedding party on the other side of the world with remote munitions fired from a drone piloted by white collar office workers from a shed in Nebraska, that's "good" weapons, and landmines, they're "bad" weapons?

      2. James O'Shea

        Re: I'd be amazed if they WEREN'T making one

        "Like who the hell seriously sits down and design a land mine that pops out of the ground to waist height and then goes off... This is the fucktard mentality of these people."

        Thou knowest not history. Lots and lots and lots of people have designed exactly such weapons. The definitive example is the German S-mine, also known as the bouncing betty or the debollocker. See further http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-mine.

  3. James 51 Silver badge

    Title is too long

    Citing “an informed source close to the Saudi secret service”,

    Yes, because if I was planning to stop someone aquiring nuclear weapons the first thing I'd do is warn them I was coming and how I was planning to stop them.

    1. Spoddyhalfwit

      Re: Title is too long

      "Yes, because if I was planning to stop someone aquiring nuclear weapons the first thing I'd do is warn them I was coming and how I was planning to stop them."

      You're right! If I was going to implement an Orwellian spying operation on everyone including my own population's electronic communications I'd never tell them about it. So Snowden must be a hallucination/imposter. Because security services never leak.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: Title is too long

        The tag 'sources close to' is usually cover for an offical non-offical leak. If this was a whistle blower, I'd expect a lot more in the way of evidence.

  4. TopOnePercent Silver badge

    Versioning

    If the intelligence services are leaking, via sources close to them, that StuxNet 3 is being prepared, it would be a safe bet that both version 3 and version 4 have been live for a period of time and they're actually working on version 5.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    To be fair...

    ...if, a few years ago, the Iranians had claimed that the US and Israel were planning bespoke malware to remotely damage their nuclear research programme we'd all be calling them a bunch of paranoiacs.

  6. FuzzyTheBear
    WTF?

    To be fair cable cutters are cheap.

    What about a pair of cutters ?

    Is it THAT hard to cut the internet from their facility's " critical " machinery ?

    I can fix the problem in less than a minute. What's this line going outside the building ? > SNIP <

    Finish. case closed. Is the obvious perhaps too obvious ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To be fair cable cutters are cheap.

      " Is the obvious perhaps too obvious ?"

      Depends whether you believe they have a credible nuclear programme, and then believe they want to achieve nuclear armed status. As per my post above, the failure of Iran to produce a nuke is arguably more surprising than if they'd succeeeded.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: To be fair cable cutters are cheap.

        " the failure of Iran to produce a nuke is arguably more surprising than if they'd succeeeded"

        A fair bit of analysis that I've seen (this is in the FT not some dodgy website with white-on-black text and flashing highlights) is that Iran don't WANT to produce a nuke at the moment, they want to develop the technology + availability of material so that should they decide to do so, they can do so very quickly. In the meantime they can honestly argue that they are developing only for peaceful purposes.

        Incidentally I have less problem with Iran having working nukes together with strong trade and communications ties with the west, rather than being an isolated and embattled regime who could produce nukes with a year or two's serious work. If the EU has one lesson to teach it's this - profits always trump prophets.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To be fair cable cutters are cheap.

          " they want to develop the technology + availability of material so that should they decide to do so, they can do so very quickly"

          My question still stands, though. Even if they merely want the materials and knowledge, why get themselves in a pickle trying to use subvertible modern tech, when they don't have to?

          They don't need enough materials and the technology to build a fleet of nuclear powered and armed subs, just enough for two or three small truck portable weapons. The US did that seventy years ago with no computers and no prior knowledge.

          There's a Western obsession with missile delivery of payloads, that means miniaturisation and complexity, but that's driven by our desire for stand off weapons, and shaped by the Cold War. For Iran things are a lot different. We think the far more backward North Korea has nuclear weapon technology, so there's no reason the Iranians couldn't have developed them if they really wanted to.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Ledswinger Re: To be fair cable cutters are cheap.

            ".....They don't need enough materials and the technology to build a fleet of nuclear powered and armed subs, just enough for two or three small truck portable weapons. The US did that seventy years ago with no computers and no prior knowledge....." Two problems with that argument. Firstly, the Allies had the then state-of-the-art delivery system in the B-29, which was hard for the failing Japanese defences to intercept, and their submarines that developed into their nuke subs were also state-of-the-art. The Iranians will have to deliver their nukes against opponents that can use satellites to track radioactive material such as a warhead, and can guide fast attack jets or missiles to destroy a truck-mounted or air-dropped bomb in transit, especially given that Iran's likely targets (Saudi, Israel or Europe and the US) all involve a lot of mileage during which the bomb could be discovered. In short, Iran needs missiles to carry the nukes as delivery by any other means is much less certain. Secondly, the low-tech approach would produce only low-yield devices in small numbers and their opponents are already in possession of high-yield devices in numbers. Even the Saudis seem to have the option of quickly buying ready-built and nuke-tipped ICBMs from Pakistan. Given a low-tech approach means few weapons that are easier to intercept, the Iranians would risk being turned to glass without inflicting any damage on their enemies.

            ".....There's a Western obsession with missile delivery of payloads....". See above.

            ".....that means miniaturisation and complexity...." Unless your delivery mechanism is a slow cargo plane or even slower truck, minituarisation is a must. And if you want to avoid satellite detection you need tons of additional shielding material, which means your little bomb now needs a house-sized casing.

            ".....but that's driven by our desire for stand off weapons, and shaped by the Cold War. For Iran things are a lot different....." Actually they are not that different. Iran needs a weapon with which they can threaten their enemies from range as they simply are too geographically separated to do so with anything else. An Iranian army, navy or airforce attack would have to travel hundreds of miles over well-monitored land, air or sea before it could come to grips with any enemies. And seeing as their army, airforce and navy are using barely-modernised Cold War kit, their chances of winning a conventional engagement are remote to zero. So Iran does need nuke-tipped ICBMs to continue their posturing.

            ".....there's no reason the Iranians couldn't have developed them if they really wanted to." Who said they haven't been working on it? The indications are they have been working on explosive chambers for testing and design. Building a simple, low-yield nuke is easy, but building one you can actually deliver onto a remote target despite their modren defences is very hard.

    2. Spoddyhalfwit

      Re: To be fair cable cutters are cheap.

      "Is it THAT hard to cut the internet from their facility's " critical " machinery ?"

      Wasn't the innovative aspect of Stuxnet that it didn't hack centrifuges directly via the net, but was designed to make its way there via USB, boot sectors and other methods, since the centrifuges and the systems that controlled them weren't connected to the net? So there is no internet cable to cut.

    3. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: To be fair cable cutters are cheap.

      AFAIK their "facility's " critical " machinery" was already air-gapped. They got the stuxnet infection off an infected USB

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    I think it's obvious that "Stuxnet n" (whatever version they are really up to) is inevitable.

    Demonstrated capability X underemployed development team X list of assorted "bad guys" --> massive opportunity for kudos

    Albeit secret kudos, but hey, those who matter know, and that's all that counts, right?.

    Like the NSA's and GCHQ's desire to read and record everything this has nothing to do with reality but the perception of threat and the availability of the technology.

    They will do it because they can do it.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Israel

    " ...it’s unlikely that Israel would want to anger its allies in Washington by jeopardising the recent rapprochement with Iran"

    Rubbish. Israel does not give a damn, the lobby groups in the US are so strong nothing will stop the 3 trillion dollars in military aid the US gives them.

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