January 27, 2011
Moscow _The computer virus attack on a Russian-built nuclear reactor in Iran could have triggered a new Chernobyl, said a senior Russian diplomat.
Russia's Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin told reporters the Stuxnet virus that hit the computer system at the Bushehr reactor had caused centrifuges to spin out of control. "The incident involving the infection of Siemens software that caused uncontrolled spinning of Bushehr centrifuges shows that such landmines planted in sensitive hardware may cause new Chernobyls,” he said after a meeting of the Russia-NATO council in Brussels.
Mr. Rogozin explained that the dangerous virus had penetrated the Bushehr computer system through control systems software supplied by Siemens. "As far as we know, the operators saw on their screens that the centrifuges were working normally when in fact they were spinning out of control.” he said.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that the Stuxnet virus had been developed as a joint project by U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials at Israel's top-secret Dimona project in the Negev desert. The Stuxnet attack is believed to have caused a delay in the commercial startup of the Bushehr reactor built with Russian help. Mr. Rogozin lamented NATO's reluctance to probe this attack. "NATO should get their act together and investigate this matter,” he said, adding that he did not know if the German firm, which had built the centrifuges, was probing the incident.
NATO has spurned Russia's offer to jointly fight cyber crime, said Mr. Rogozin.
"Cyber security has so far been a taboo subject in our relations with NATO and we have not received any reply to our proposal to include the issue in the ongoing review of common threats.”