Tuesday, April 26, 2011
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Iran has discovered a second computer virus designed to damage government computer systems.
The discovery of the virus, called Stars, was announced Monday by a senior Iranian official, Gholam-Reza Jalali, head of an Iranian cyberdefense agency, according to reports.
Jalali said in a statement that the damage from the virus, which looks like a regular government computer file, has been minimal and that Iranian scientists are currently studying the virus.
The virus was aimed at nuclear facilities, according to the Washington Post, and seems to suggest "a broader campaign by foreign saboteurs to undermine Iran’s atomic energy program."
The computer worm Stuxnet, which some say has set back Iran's nuclear program by several months or years, and which The New York Times reported was a joint project between Israel and the United States, affected some of Iran's computer systems and centrifuges used to enrich uranium after it was released last year.
Iran had to replace 1,000 Stuxnet-damaged centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment plant at Natanz last year, according to the Washington Post.
“The nation should ready itself for the next virus since it is possible that new viruses will be considerably more dangerous than the first,” Jalali said, acknowledging that Stuxnet is still a danger to government computer systems and the country's nuclear program.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 7:32 AM
International forces in Afghanistan say they have killed their number two insurgent target in the country - senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Ghani.
The Saudi citizen died in an air strike almost two weeks ago in Kunar province, near Pakistan, Nato-led forces said.
Abdul Ghani, also known as Abu Hafs al-Najdi, ran training camps and planned attacks on tribal leaders and foreigners, the Nato statement said.
Nato estimates some 100 al-Qaeda members still operate in Afghanistan.
The alliance says it has killed more than 25 al-Qaeda leaders and fighters in the past month. There is no independent confirmation of the claim.
Abdul Ghani has been blamed for a number of high-profile attacks - including the death of Malik Zarin, a tribal leader in the east who was a close ally of President Hamid Karzai.
Mr Zarin and nine other people were killed in a suicide attack on the morning of the militant leader's own death.
Abdul Ghani is also accused of mounting attacks against foreigners, including US officials.
The International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said Abdul Ghani controlled a network of insurgents that targeted security forces outposts throughout Kunar province.
"Abdul Ghani commonly instructed subordinate leaders to conduct kidnapping operations against foreigners... and he was responsible for directing suicide bomb attacks targeting US government officials," Isaf's statement said.
Nato has been pursuing him since 2007. He is also number 23 on a Saudi list of most wanted militants.
READ THE FULL STORY AT THE BBC
Posted by Steve Douglass at 7:27 AM