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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WSJ Report: Israel-Created Computer Virus Spied On Iran Nuke Talks

Who created the computer virus used to spy on the P+5 talks with Iran? According to the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab ZAO (via the Wall Street Journal) it was Israel who placed the bug in the three luxury European hotels hosting the nuke talks.

Apparently when Kaspersky Lab ZAO analyzed a bug in found in its own network last year it was similar to a virus though to be used by Israeli spies. The firm "checked millions of computers world-wide and three luxury European hotels popped up. The other hotels the firm tested—thousands in all—were clean."  After additional analysis the cybersecurity sleuths realized the three bugged hotels were the ones hosting the P+5 talks.
The spyware, the firm has now concluded, was an improved version of Duqu, a virus first identified by cybersecurity experts in 2011, according to a Kaspersky report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and outside security experts. Current and former U.S. officials and many cybersecurity experts believe Duqu was designed to carry out Israel’s most sensitive intelligence-collection operations.

Senior U.S. officials learned Israel was spying on the nuclear talks in 2014, a finding first reported by The Wall Street Journal in March. Officials at the time offered few details about Israel’s tactics.
Kaspersky policy is not to name the country doing the bugging so their report released today will not specifically mention Israel but its rather obvious as the virus is an update of one linked to Israel and Israel is the country most in danger should the deal as predicted allow Iran to continue down the path toward nuclear weapons.

The security firm hints at who the believe created the virus, which is based on one discovered four years ago called Duqu. Kaspersky named their report about this incident "Duqu Bet." In Hebrew the number two is represented by "Bet" the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Researchers at the company acknowledge that many questions remain unanswered about how the virus was used and what information may have been stolen. Among the possibilities, the researchers say, the intruders might have been able to eavesdrop on conversations and steal electronic files by commandeering the hotel systems that connect to computers, phones, elevators and alarms, allowing them to turn them on and off at will to collect information.

Israeli officials have denied spying on the U.S. or Israel’s other allies, although they acknowledge conducting close surveillance on Iranians generally. Israeli officials declined to comment specifically on the allegations relating to the Duqu virus and the hotel intrusions [keep in mind Israel never confirms or denies reports involving national security].
Here's hoping that the report is true and that Israel knows exactly what's going on in the negotiations.  By most accounts Obama is rushing to make a deal at all costs to protect his legacy, throwing concession after concession to the Iranians, while Israel, Saudi Arabia as well as many of the "moderate" Arab states anxiously wait to see to what extent their supposed ally in the White House are throwing them under the bus.

Obviously Israel does not trust Obama nor should they as this president hasn't dealt fairly with the Jewish State since he took office.

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