It isn’t Stuxnet or even Flame, but…
The malware known as ‘Flame,’ that was described by the analysts who discovered it as a super-cyberweapon, is actually a tool for cyberespionage that has been running inside Iranian data centers and labs for as long as five years without being discovered or causing significant damage.
Contrast that with Stuxnet, an app designed to create damage and mayhem, which still hung around high-security facilities for a year or more, futzing with the speeds and sequencing of centrifuges refining nuclear fuel into weapons-grade material.
Contrast it, for that matter, with Windows, which causes huge disruptions every time a new version, a new Service Pack or even a significant set of new patches comes out (let alone with Windows-based malware helps someone steal data from usually not-so-secret installations) and you have a good case for stealth as a design goal.
One question that always hits me when malware like this surfaces: is it cross-platform or just for Windows computers? That’s not an easy question to get a straight answer to, and the reason is simple: cybersecurity experts consider it to be a stupid one. Of course it’s Windows!
Iran is a country under an array of sanctions and commercial restrictions. It is also a country blessed with many intelligent, well-educated people (well, the ones that haven’t bailed out on them). So why hasn’t the Iranian government built its nuclear and other capabilities on computers running a more secure platform like Linux, which is free? Instead they have entrusted their plan to wipe Israel off the map to computers running an OS which is often pirated and whose security problems are a global joke.
Perhaps they figured that, if they stuck with pirated versions of Windows, they’d avoid problems with the updates.
It seems that the biggest virus on Iranian computers–and others–is Microsoft Windows itself. Our country’s most potent secret weapon…