Israel implicated by possible Biblical and historical clues in Stuxnet code

10/04/2010 20:07

From Israel Insider:

As Iran reels from the impact of the Stuxnet computer worm, Israeli military intelligence is on the short-list of suspects in its creation of the Stuxnet worm. The IDF -- specifically its renowned 8200 signal intelligence group -- has both the motivation and the capability to execute the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever devised.

Stuxnet can not only cause damage to a system, but can take control of whole facilities, producing physical, real-world effects, such as subverting power plants, which it has already apparently done in Iran.

Even the worm's discovery apparently has not stopped its destructive power. The worm's creators may even able to communicate and even control infected machines .

A detailed analysis released by security firm Symantec and summarized in Wired revealed two clues that, according to, may indicate Israeli involvement in the attack – or perhaps that another country is trying to incriminate Israel with a red herring to lead attention away from the real author. Two file directory names, “myrtus” and “guava,” are interpreted as an allusion to the biblical Queen Esther, who intervened to save the Jewish people from destruction at the hands of a Persian king. Persia is now known as Iran.

Esther was also known as Hadassah, a name which means “myrtle” in Hebrew. Guavas are in the myrtle family of fruit.

Esther, in the Biblical tale, worms her way into a position of power from which she is able to thwart by guile the evil genocidal plans of Haman, the King's chief adviser.


On the other hand, as one code analyst suggests persuasively, "Myrtus" may in fact refer to My RTUs: RTUs are "real-time units" -- components that play an important role in the SCADA systems such as those infected by Stuxnet.

A more striking historical hint at Jewish or Israeli involvement is the "halt marker" 19790509 in the code, a possible reference to the highly significant date May 9, 1979, when Iran executed Persian Jew Habib Elghanian, accusing him of spying for and supporting Israel, prompting the mass exodus of Iranian Jews from the newly Islamic state and marking the critical turning point in the relations between revolutionary Iran and its Jewish population.

According to Wikipedia, Elghanian "was a prominent Jewish Iranian businessman and philanthropist who served as the president of the Tehran Jewish Society and acted as the symbolic head of the Iranian Jewish community in the 1970s.... He played a significant role in bringing Western technology to Iran in the 1960s and 1970s while the country was moving forward with progressive changes in cultural, social and technological spheres under the Shah.A self made multi-millionaire, Elghanian gained worldwide respect for his entrepreneurial accomplishments in Iran and Israel.

In a symbolic move, shortly after the Islamic revolution, the new government of Iran arrested Elghanian and charged him with "corruption", "contacts with Israel and Zionism", "friendship with the enemies of God", "warring with God and his emissaries", and "economic imperialism". He was tried by an Islamic revolutionary tribunal and sentenced to death, A report by Time magazine states: "Elghanian,who was convicted of spying for Israel, was said to have made huge investments in Israel and to have solicited funds for the Israeli army, which the prosecution claimed made him an accomplice "in murderous air raids against innocent Palestinians."

"On May 9, 1979, Elghanian was executed by a firing squad in Tehran sending shock waves through the closely knit Iranian Jewish community. He was the first Jew and one of the first civilians to be executed by the new Islamic government. This prompted the mass exodus of the once 100,000 member strong Jewish community of Iran which continues to this day."


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