Stuxnet Fears: Iran Ministries Air Gap

Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 10:08 AM gHale

In their version of an air gap, Iran is moving key ministries and state bodies off the Internet to shield them from disruptive cyber attacks like the Stuxnet and Flame viruses.

Reza Taghipour, the Iran’s telecommunications minister, said they were making the move because sensitive intelligence was vulnerable on the Internet, which he said was untrustworthy because “one or two” countries hostile to Iran control it.

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“The establishment of the national intelligence network will create a situation where the precious intelligence of the country won’t be accessible to these powers,” Taghipour said at a conference at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University.

He described the move as the first phase of a project to replace the Internet with a domestic intranet system scheduled to go online within 18 months.

Opponents said the plan as a means of stamping out western influence on the Internet while further tightening already stringent online surveillance of political activists and regime critics.

While Iranian officials have repeatedly spoken about creating their own alternative to the Internet, the latest announcement follows the upheaval brought about by Stuxnet and Flame, both of which ISSSource reported were developed jointly by the U.S. and Israel.

Stuxnet, discovered in 2010, caused extensive damage to Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which Iran said is peaceful despite the West’s suspicions its focus is to produce an atomic bomb.

Flame, detected this year, was “20 times larger than Stuxnet” and an even more sophisticated virus focused on Iran’s oil ministry and main export terminal.

2 Responses to “Stuxnet Fears: Iran Ministries Air Gap”

  1. the SCADAhacker says:

    This just shows how implementing security controls or countermeasures without understanding your threats and risks will not really improve your security posture much. Stuxnet was designed specifically to penetrate even the most isolated systems, including those that contain air gaps. It was able to complete its mission without the need for any external communication or C&C connectivity. The reason Stuxnet was so powerful was because it did not freely propagate over the Internet (WAN) but rather local networks (LAN).

    To read more about the details behind Stuxnet, take a look at a White Paper that I co-authored and was re-print on ISSSource:

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