Computer Virus Infects Iran Nuclear Officials' PCs

Mahmoud Jafari, the director of Iran's Bushehr reactor, among those affected by the malware.

A virus apparently targeted at the Iran's nuclear installations also hit personal computers belonging to top officials in the country's atomic program, it emerged Sunday.

Mahmoud Jafari, the director of Iran's Bushehr reactor, was among those affected by the malware, which experts believe is so sophisticated that it was likely developed with backing from a Western government.

Bushehr - AP - Aug. 21, 2010

Other Bushehr managers, as well as officials from Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, were also hit by the so-called Stuxnet worm, according to reports from the official Irana news agency.

Irana quoted Jafari as saying that a team of experts had been appointed to rid the computers of the hostile software, which he said had "caused no serious damage to major systems" at Bushehr.

The light water reactor, built with Russian aid, is set to start operating in October and Jafari said there were no plans to postpone the opening of the power plant.

Israel and the West accuse Iran of using its atomic power program as a front for designs on a bomb, a charge Iran denies.

The destructive Stuxnet worm has surprised experts because it is the first one
specifically created to take over industrial control systems, rather than just
steal or manipulate data.

The United States is also tracking the worm, and the Department of Homeland
Security is building specialized teams that can respond quickly to cyber emergencies at industrial facilities across the country.

On Saturday, Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency reported that the malware had spread throughout Iran, but did not name specific sites affected.