Remember Stuxnet, the malicious cyber worm that sabotaged centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant in the summer of 2010?
Now meet Duqu, her younger sister, who has just started making the rounds. Her existence, suspected for the past few weeks, was announced to the world by the revelation that Iran has developed anti-malware to thwart the damage she has wrought.
The head of Iran’s civil defense, Brig. Gen. Gholamreza Jalali said in an interview with Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, on Sunday, that "software to control the [Duqu] virus has been developed and made available to organizations and corporations" in Iran.
"The elimination was carried out and the organizations penetrated by the virus are under control ... The cyber defense unit works day and night to combat cyber attacks and spy [computer] virus," he added.
It was Iran’s first admission of having been hit by a second virus.
But for John le Carré fans, this was only the beginning of a bright new morning.
Saturday, hours before Jalali spoke, a second conspiracy theory had been born; in fact, it had exploded. A blast of unknown origin at a munitions base outside of Tehran killed 17 people, among them Hassan Tehrani Moqqaddam, who held the rank of brigadier general and was considered a crucial personage in the world of Iranian missile development.
It didn’t take a day for speculations to surface. While it must be acknowledged that munitions bases have a notorious propensity for blowing up, this case seemed suspect.