05:09 GMT23 April 2021
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    The head of Iran’s civil defense agency announced on Sunday that a new version of the Stuxnet virus, believed to be a US-Israeli creation, had been found by Iranian authorities. The announcement came amid news that President Hassan Rouhani’s phone had been bugged and a call for increased defenses to “confront infiltration.”

    "Recently we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet which consisted of several parts… and was trying to enter our systems," announced Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iranian civil defense, Reuters reported. He gave no further details, such as whom the Iranian government believes to be behind the attack or how much damage it had caused.

    The original Stuxnet virus targeted nuclear centrifuges at Iran's Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility in June 2009, when it caused about 20 percent of the facility's centrifuges to spin out of control until they broke. It's widely believed to have been a joint creation by the US and Israel.

    The Times of Israel noted that Israeli officials have refused to discuss what role, if any, they played in either Stuxnet operation.

    That same day, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday, "In the face of the enemy's complex practices, our civil defense should… confront infiltration through scientific, accurate and up-to-date… action."

    Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) then reported on Monday that Rouhani's cell phone had recently been discovered to be bugged, citing Jalali as saying that Rouhani's phone would be replaced with a more secure device. Again, Jalali made no indication as to who was believed to be behind the wire tap.

    Still, Israel seems to be name on everyone's lips. The news is only one episode in a rapid succession of moves between Israel and Iran, with Israel's Mossad intelligence agency saying on Wednesday it had thwarted an Iranian murder plot in Denmark against three members of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, an organization connected to those who carried out a terrorist attack during a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on September 22, killing 25 people. Earlier this year, Israel claimed it had accomplished a vast cyber-heist, stealing an archive that Israel claimed documented Tehran's continuing nuclear weapons program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented those claims to the UN in September.

    "What Iran hides, Israel will find," Netanyahu declared in his UN speech at the time.


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    Israel, intelligence agencies, security, computer virus, Stuxnet, cyberattack, Iran
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