Stuxnet, the incredibly sophisticated malware, was believed to have set back Iran’s nuclear program by a few years, and today’s New York Times reports that not only was the malware responsible, but that President Obama ordered the cyberattacks.
Citing anonymous sources, the New York Times reported that Obama accelerated the attacks, which were related to a previous effort by the Bush administration. The Stuxnet worm was long thought to have been a joint effort developed by Israel and the U.S. to specifically target the Iranian nuclear program. But after it leaked to and compromised other computers across the Internet in mid-2010, Obama considered shutting down the cyberattacks. Obama reportedly expressed concern that the attack, codenamed Olympic Games, would encourage similar attacks by other nation states, or cyber terrorists and hackers. Ultimately, the President concluded the U.S. had no other options.
The goal of the attacks was to gain access to the industrial computer controls in Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant, the story said. The U.S. National Security Agency and a secret Israeli cyberunit developed the Stuxnet worm, the story also reported.
For the piece, The Times interviewed various U.S., Israeli and European officials currently and formerly involved with the cyberattack program.
A White House spokesman declined to comment on the New York Times story.