During his first months in office, President Barack Obama secretly ordered an increase in cyberattacks on Iran's nuclear facilities, according to a New York Times report.
The article, published on Friday, is an excerpt from "Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power" by David E. Sanger, to be published next week.
Sanger revealed that Obama's decision to accelerate the attacks, which were launched under the Bush administration with the code name "Olympic Games," was a significant expansion of America's use of cyberweapons.
The virus was introduced into a closed computer network at Iran's main nuclear enrichment facility, according to Voice of America. The US National Security Agency worked with Israel on the project, which had the virus collecting information and sabotaging the centrifuges that Iran was suspected of using to enrich weapons-grade uranium.
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The program continued even after a portion of it escaped Iran's nuclear plant at Natanz, and computer security experts who studied the worm dubbed it Stuxnet.
According to Agence France Presse, experts have suspected that the US and Israeli governments were behind Stuxnet, but neither country admitted to being responsible for it.
A Pentagon spokesman, Captain John Kirby, said, "As we've said many times and the president and secretary made clear, cyber domain is a domain that we need to constantly evaluate and constantly assess and try to improve the range of capabilities that we have in cyberspace," while not commenting on the article's contents, AFP reported.
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Sanger said his account was based on interviews with current and former officials from America, Europe and Israel who were involved in the program, according to Time.
The news comes just days after the discovery of the Flame virus which infected several computers in Iran and the Middle East. Cyber security experts have speculated that a government was behind the development of the sophisticated virus that seemed to target Iran, according to CNN.
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