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In a Computer Worm, a Possible Biblical Clue


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Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran's race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them. That use of the word "Myrtus"—which can be read as an allusion to Esther—to name a file inside the code is one of several murky clues that have emerged as computer experts try to trace the origin and purpose of the rogue Stuxnet program, which seeks out a specific kind of command module for industrial equipment.

Stuxnet appears designed to attack a certain type of Siemens industrial control computer used widely to manage oil pipelines, electrical power grids and many kinds of nuclear plants. Last year officials in Dubai seized a large shipment of those controllers after Western intelligence agencies warned that the shipment was bound for Iran and would likely be used in its nuclear program.

There are many reasons to suspect Israel's involvement in Stuxnet. Intelligence is the single largest section of its military and the unit devoted to signal, electronic and computer network intelligence is the largest group within intelligence.

From The New York Times
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