Stuxnet Shoots, It Scores!

Gee, sounds like the pump was continuously running well outside its design parameters while indicating normal operation on its control instrumentation, which is is exactly what Stuxnet was designed to do, run machinery beyond tolerance limits while spoofing the performance display readouts with fake data.

IAEA says Iran’s Bushehr delays were caused by pump

Iran was believed to have told the UN atomic watchdog that a broken pump had made it necessary to remove fuel from its first nuclear power reactor, independent experts familiar with the issue said on Monday.

The experts, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, said it was a potentially serious problem likely to cause more delays for the Russian-built Bushehr plant, which has yet to start injecting power into Iran’s national grid.

“I think what happened is that the pump failed but it didn’t just fail, it broke up, so that … there are pieces of metal that are now circulated throughout the primary cooling system,” one of them said.

See also:
Breakage in Iranian Reactor Forced Fuel Removal: Russia
Iranian reactor stalled by damaged pump
New setback at Iran’s Bushehr plant
Iran blames broken pump for atom fuel removal-experts
Russia says why Iranian nuclear plant was unloaded
In setback, Iran to unload fuel from nuclear plant
Iran Pulls Fuel From Bushehr Plant Just Before Power Project Scheduled to Go Online
Iran removing nuclear fuel from plant
Iran to unload nuclear fuel from Bushehr plant
Bushehr plant fuel delayed
Bushehr reactor to be emptied
Iran: Removal of fuel rods has nothing to do with Stuxnet

Of course it’s just speculation and no one will actually admit that the pump disintegration was cased by Stuxnet. However, a pump like this would normally give some manner of warning to the operators that the pump was malfunctioning, this one didn’t, it continued to run until it “broke up”. Coincidentally, Stuxnet was designed to cause precisely this type of damage, with no warning, to industrial equipment. Believe it or not.

/in any case, with tiny pieces of metal strewn throughout the reactor’s cooling system and possibly contaminating the nuclear fuel rods, this mess is going to take quite some time to clean up and then it just might happen again

Sanctions, What Sanctions?

Here we have yet another example as to how well sanctions work. They don’t.

Reactor started at Bushehr nuclear power plant

The reactor at the Bushehr nuclear power plant has begun operating, Vice-President and head of Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters on Saturday.

The reactor was completely loaded with fuel, and a few days ago it was sealed up. The water in the reactor “heart” is being gradually warmed. Then, final tests will be conducted, he said.

Salehi expressed the hope power from the Bushehr plant would come into the country’s energy system in one-two months. It will be a great holiday for the country, he noted. His words are cited by Iranian news agencies and television.

See also:
Iran says first nuclear plant begins operating
Iranian official: First nuclear power plant fueled up
Bushehr nuclear plant fuelled: Iran
Iran’s nuclear plant to go on line by late January
Iranian nuclear plant nears national electricity production
Iran says first nuclear plant begins operating
‘Fueling of Bushehr N-plant complete”
Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant to join national power grid in two months
Iranian Nuclear Plant is Powering Up
Iran’s First Nuclear Power Plant Now Operational
First Iranian NPP starts operating
Fuel loading completed at Bushehr
Iran’s first nuclear power plant goes online

Well, now that the Bushehr reactor is fully fueled and operating, it’s too late to bomb it.

/I guess we’re stuck with Iran being a nuclear power and we’ll just have to “absorb” it

Pushing The Cyberwarfare Envelope

A computer worm so sophisticated that it attacks specific targets in specific countries, gee I wonder who would be capable of developing something that advanced?

Stuxnet Compromise at Iranian Nuclear Plant May Be By Design

Iran has confirmed that more than 30,000 PCs have been infected by the Stuxnet worm in that country, including some at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. The nature of the Stuxnet worm and the infiltration of Iranian nuclear facilities has led to speculation about whether the worm was developed by the United States or its allies expressly for that purpose.

The Pentagon response to the implication is the standard cagey reply given for just about anything related to national security or military engagements. Fox News reports that, “Pentagon Spokesman Col. David Lapan said Monday the Department of Defense can “neither confirm nor deny” reports that it launched this attack.”

McAfee AVERT Labs has a thorough analysis of the Stuxnet worm which explains the threat in detail. “Stuxnet is a highly complex virus targeting Siemens’ SCADA software. The threat exploits a previously unpatched vulnerability in Siemens SIMATIC WinCC/STEP 7 (CVE-2010-2772) and four vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, two of which have been patched at this time (CVE-2010-2568, CVE-2010-2729). It also utilizes a rootkit to conceal its presence, as well as 2 different stolen digital certificates.”

Another interesting tidbit from McAfee supporting the speculation that Iran may have been the intended target of Stuxnet is that the initial discovery seemed to be primarily focused in the Middle East.

Speaking on the subject of whether the threat may have been specifically crafted for Iran, Randy Abrams, director of technical education at ESET said, “It appears that it is possible that Stuxnet may have been responsible for problems in Iran’s nuclear program over the past year, however that is speculation and it is unlikely that the Iranian government is going to say if that was the case. It is even possible that it was the case and they don’t know it.”

Abrams added, “It is entirely possible that Stuxnet was created by the United States working alone or in conjunction with allies. The fact that it is possible does not indicate it is true however. There have been a number of recent defections in Iran. It is also possible that this was an internal attack. There is still a legitimate question as to whether or not Iran was actually the target.”

See also:
Stuxnet Update
Iranian power plant infected by Stuxnet, allegedly undamaged
Iran admits Stuxnet worm infected PCs at nuclear reactor
Pentagon Silent on Iranian Nuke Virus
Stuxnet Worm Affects 30,000 Computers in Iran
Stuxnet worm assault on Iranian nuclear facilities’ computers may be Western cyber attack: experts
Computer worm infects Iran’s nuclear station
Stuxnet: Future of warfare? Or just lax security?
Stuxnet – a new age in cyber warfare says Eugene Kaspersky
Has the West declared cyber war on Iran?
Web virus aimed at nuclear work, says Tehran
Report: Stuxnet Worm Attacks Iran, Who is Behind It?
US, Israel behind cyber-attack on Iran?

Well, diplomacy sure as hell isn’t working and no one really wants to launch airstrikes against the Iranian nuclear facilities, especially fraidy cat Obama. So, maybe this is a third option, use the Iranians’ own computers to remotely destroy their nuclear related equipment, perfect, if it actually works. I know I’ve got my fingers crossed. Go U.S. or go Israel or go whoever is responsible for this brilliant plan!

/all your nuclear related computers are belong to us!