'Weapon Worm' Infects Iran Nuke Plant

But out-of-control malware is exacting 'collateral damage' in digital battle

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 27, 2010 2:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – What may be the world's first major "weapon worm" has already infected workers' personal computers at Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility just weeks before the power station is set to go online, officials have confirmed. Experts believe the damaging Stuxnet worm is the work of engineers so organized and well-funded that the attack was likely launched by an enemy government, notes the Telegraph.

The rate of infection in Iran is "off the charts," with 60,000 computers believed affected by last month, said one expert. But the malware was wielded so sloppily that's it's turned up in industrial targets all over the world likely not intended, causing "collateral damage" just as in any war, reports the New York Times. The runaway worm is causing panic. “Proliferation is a real problem, and no country is prepared to deal with it,” said a former US national cybersecurity manager. "We have about 90 days to fix this before some hacker begins using it.” An Iranian plant manager said the worm has so far "not caused any damage to major systems."

The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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