Obama expanded cyber offensive against Iran

Despite at least one major glitch, major cyberattacks continue

As soon as he took office, U.S. President Obama authorized increasingly sophisticated attacks against Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, expanding on efforts begun in the Bush administration to check that country's nuclear efforts, reports the New York Times.

The cyberattacks, including Stuxnet, carried out by the United States and ally Israel proceeded despite a potentially harmful setback that occurred in summer 2010 when an element of the program accidentally became public as a result of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and be distributed around the world on the Internet, the story said.

The story, which tracks the progress of the cyberattacks since Obama took office in 2009 and resumed the cyber offensive begun as a secret program known as Olympic Games under his predecessor, is based on interviews with current and former U.S., European and Israeli officials involved in the program, all of whom requested anonymity because of the highly classified nature of past and present cyber efforts to deter Iran's nuclear development.

Forensic investigations carried out around the globe as to the inner workings of Stuxnet never provided a definitive conclusion as to the responsible party, the story said. Similar efforts are being conducted on the newer Flame cyber espionage virus, which seeks to steal sensitive information, rather than neutralize infrastructure like Stuxnet.

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