Stuxnet, a malicious computer code, that has been infecting industrial facilities in multiple countries may have been created by a private group, according to the security company Symantec.
The code is reported to have already affected about 45,000 computer systems around the world, with an Iranian nuclear plant being the most recent target, according to Reuters
Stuxnet was first identified in June and was created to infect systems designed by the German engineering company Siemens AG, which are used to run oil delivery, power plants, water supplies, and other industrial facilities. The worm can recognize a specific facility’s control network and then destroy it, the report said.
The worm also affected systems in India, Indonesia, and Pakistan, media reports said.
Liam O Murchu, manager of security response operations at Symantec, said that his company’s analysis of the virus had shown that around 60 percent of the computer systems infected were in Iran, according to the Press Association.
Analysts said the code might have been designed to attack Iranian nuclear facilities. Iranian officials said Sunday that the virus had infected some personal computers at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, but denied any major damage to the main system.
The United States and other nations believe that Iran develops nuclear weapons, while Tehran insists that its nuclear program is not aimed at building weapons, but for civil purposes only.