Iran is worried about a virtual assault on its contentious nuclear program.
Iran is more concerned about a cyber attack on its controversial nuclear program than an actual military action threatened by Israel and the United States, a senior official of the country’s military said.
The Middle East country has tightened its cyber security since its nuclear facilities were hit in 2010 by a rare computer worm, Stuxnet, and by another, Flame, this year, a commander in the Revolutionary Guards said on Tuesday.
Iran believes its nuclear program, which has remained a subject of fierce controversy with the international community, was the main target of the attacks.
It blamed the US and Israel for the onslaught. Both worms were later contained. While Israel and the U.S. accuse Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons, an allegation Iran denies, maintaining its programs are for peaceful purposes.
“We have armed ourselves with new tools, because a cyber war is more dangerous than a physical war,” said Abdollah Araqi, deputy commander of ground forces in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency, ISNA.
But the country has defied a United Nations directive to curtail its uranium enrichment.
At the ongoing United Nation general Assembly in the US, Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, accused the US of ignoring Israel’s nuclear programs while attacking its “scientific program.”
Israel has threatened to strike Iran’s nuclear sites and has warned that the country is only about six months away from reaching the capacity to build nuclear weapons.
The US has called for more time and President Barack Obama, who is to speak Wednesday at the UN assembly, is to urge the international community to do all it can to stop Iran from reaching nuclear capabilities.
Iran detected a computer virus in April inside the control systems of Kharg Island – which handles the vast majority of its crude oil exports – but the terminal remained operational, news agency Reuters says.
Tehran is working towards developing a national Internet, saying that would improve cyber security. But many Iranians believe the plan is the latest way to control their access to the web, already highly censored.