F-Secure Security Labs reported that it reviewed messages from Iranian nuclear energy scientists that stated the computer systems at the Natanz and Fordo nuclear facilities were compromised by a computer worm. At this week’s Black Hat hackers’ conference, an annual security conference in Las Vegas, computer security expert Mikko Hypponen dished about a cheeky cyber-virus that crippled Iran’s nuclear energy program all while blasting AC/DC’s heavy metal hit ‘Thunderstruck.’
In 2010, Stuxnet, a virus reportedly unleashed by the U.S. and Israel, wreaked havoc on Iran’s nuclear facilities, causing one-fifth of its nuclear centrifuges to self-destruct. In 2012, Hypponen, who is the chief research officer for security firm F-Secure, received an e-mail from a scientist at the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran alerting him that AEIO had been hit by another cyber worm. The attack did not only shut down the automation systems at two AEIO facilities, it did so to its own rock anthem.
As the scientist relayed, “There was also some music playing randomly on several of the workstations during the middle of the night with the volume maxed out. I believe it was playing ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC.”
Hypponen suggested that the musical accompaniment might have been an intimidation tactic. “(I)f your computer plays AC/DC, you know that something’s going on, and your own IT department looks stupid, because they can’t stop it—they can’t keep the malware out,” he said.