Stuxnet put Iran's nuke ambitions back two years

A German insecurity expert has told the Jerusalem Post that the Stuxnet worm attack that targeted Iran's nuclear facility probably put the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions back two years.

He also suggests the Israeli military colluded with US counterparts to point the nasty bug at Iran, though we'll probably never get confirmation of that without the help of Wikileaks.

Ralph Langner, who the paper describes as a 'top German computer consultant' said: "It will take two years for Iran to get back on track," in a telephone interview. "This was nearly as effective as a military strike, but even better since there are no fatalities and no full-blown war. From a military perspective, this was a huge success.”

Iran suspended work at its nuclear production facilities last month according the Atomic Energy Agency, though Iran denied this had anything to do with the Stuxnet worm.

Langner said the worm was the most "advanced and aggressive malware in history."

Langner said the thought Israel and the United States were behind the worm, the 'paper reported. "We can say that it must have taken several years to develop, and we arrived at this conclusion through code analysis, since the code on the control systems is 15,000 lines of code, and this is a huge amount,” he said.

"This piece of evidence led us to conclude that this is not by a hacker,” he continued. “It had to be a country, and we can also conclude that even one nation-state would not have been able to do this on its own."

“It is extremely difficult to clean up installations from Stuxnet, and we know that Iran is no good in IT security, and they are just beginning to learn what this all means,” he said. "Just to get their systems running again they have to get rid of the virus, and this will take time, and then they need to replace the equipment, and they have to rebuild the centrifuges at Natanz and possibly buy a new turbine for Bushehr."

He said the best way to deal with the worm would be scrap all the infected computers and start again.