JERUSALEM — Iran has discovered a second computer virus designed to damage government computer systems.
The discovery of the virus, called Stars, was announced Monday by a senior Iranian official, Gholam-Reza Jalali, head of an Iranian cyberdefense agency, according to reports.
Jalali said in a statement that the damage from the virus, which looks like a regular government computer file, has been minimal and that Iranian scientists are currently studying the virus.
The virus was aimed at nuclear facilities, according to the Washington Post, and seems to suggest “a broader campaign by foreign saboteurs to undermine Iran’s atomic energy program.”
The computer worm Stuxnet, which some say has set back Iran’s nuclear program by several months or years, and which The New York Times reported was a joint project between Israel and the United States, affected some of Iran’s computer systems and centrifuges used to enrich uranium after it was released last year.
Iran had to replace 1,000 Stuxnet-damaged centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment plant at Natanz last year, according to the Washington Post.
“The nation should ready itself for the next virus since it is possible that new viruses will be considerably more dangerous than the first,” Jalali said, acknowledging that Stuxnet is still a danger to government computer systems and the country’s nuclear program.