A purported Iran scientist working for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran e-mailed an SOS to F-Secure Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen this weekend, saying the AEOI was under a cyber attack.
Hypponen, who is well-regarded in the security community, published a blog post this morning saying he can’t confirm the details, or even existence of the attack, but he can confirm that the e-mails were being sent from within the AEOI.
It sounds like the AEOI may have been hit with an infrastructure-targeting malware attack, similar to those that have plagued the Middle East since 2010 starting with Stuxnet. However, there’s no independent confirmation of this attack’s existence.
According to the e-mail, the malware shut down the AEOI “automation network” in its Natanz and Fordo facilities. The “scientist” specifically mentions Siemens hardware, which could be a reference to SCADA systems, or control systems that electronically monitor and power various pieces of industrial infrastructure. These systems were targeted by the Stuxnet virus that brought down part of Iran’s nuclear fuel systems in 2010. He also mentions that the malware turned on computer’s volumes to high and blasted what appeared to be ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC. Cyber criminals have to have a little humor too.