Iran admits Stuxnet worm messed with nuke plant

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has admitted that a computer virus interfered with the country's nuclear facilities.

In a news conference reported by the BBC, the outspoken leader confirmed that some of the centrifuges used in Iran's uranium enrichment programme had been compromised by the Stuxnet worm, but that the effect was limited.

"They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts," he said, adding: "Our specialists stopped that and they will not be able to do it again."

It's not clear exactly what the Iranian authorities will be doing to prevent future viruses finding their way into the country's facilities via USB sticks or other portable media, but you can bet your bottom Rial that the high-profile nuclear scientist who was found dead in Tehran earlier today will have nothing to do with it.

Security researchers suspect that the Stuxnet worm was deliberately coded to attack specific centrifuges at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility and was designed to force them to operate at speeds much slower or faster than their normal operational capacity.

General consensus has it that the malicious code was so sophisticated, and based on such in-depth intelligence, that it could only have been developed by a nation state.

Although the Stuxnet virus spread worldwide, more than 60 per cent of cases were within Iran's borders.