For the first time, Iran admitted on Sunday that it had been on the receiving end of a new cyber attack by the Duqu computer virus that allegedly targeted computers of firms in the Islamic Republic.

Speaking with the official IRNA news agency, head of Iranian civil defense Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali said that Tehran had developed a software to thwart attacks by the Duqu virus, adding that the "software to control the [Duqu] virus has been developed and made available to organizations and corporations" in Iran.

"The elimination [process] was carried out and the organizations penetrated by the virus are under control ... The cyber defense unit works day and night to combat cyber attacks and spy [computer] virus," he added.

Earlier this year, Iranian officials confirmed that another cyber attack, the Stuxnet virus, hit staff computers at the Bushehr nuclear plant but said it had not affected major systems.

Reports have also surfaced that the computer worm was meant to sabotage the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz - where the centrifuge operational capacity has halved over the past year.

Security experts say the computer worm may have been a state-sponsored attack on Iran's nuclear program and may have originated in the United States or Israel.

Last month, however, security software firm Symantec indicated that a new virus was alerted by a research lab with international connections to a malicious code that "appeared to be very similar to Stuxnet." It was named Duqu because it creates files with "DQ" in the prefix.

"Parts of Duqu are nearly identical to Stuxnet, but with a completely different purpose," Symantec said. "Duqu is essentially the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack."

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: איראן הודתה: תקף אותנו וירוס חדש