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US Congress members up in arms over White House handling of Stuxnet

08 Jun 2012
Huawei's liability centre is modelled on the White House

US politicians are in uproar over leaks from the White House admitting to US involvement in the creation and deployment of the Stuxnet virus.

Senators and Congressman are fuming over White House leaks that led to a New York Times report revealing that the US was behind the Stuxnet virus attack on Iran.

Republican Senator John McCain has asked for the appointment of a special committee that would look into and possibly prosecute those responsible for the leaks. Democrats including Congressman C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger have called for stronger regulations to prevent future leaks.

"This is not a game. This is far more important than mere politics. Laws have apparently been broken. This leaking of classified information needs to be investigated, and those officials who are found to be responsible, where appropriate, should be prosecuted," said McCain.

The uproar follows a New York Times report which identified unnamed sources within the White House as proof of US involvement in the Stuxnet virus attack.

The White House received heat from both parties following Times article. Ruppersberger decried the leaks and has asked for better information protection in a joint statement with congressional intelligence leaders.

"The problem of leaks of classified information is not new, and efforts in the past to address it have not worked," Ruppersberger said in the statement.

"We believe that significant changes are needed, in legislation, in the culture of the agencies that deal with classified information, in punishing leaks, and in the level of leadership across the government to make clear that these types of disclosures will not stand."

The Stuxnet virus was discovered in 2010 on industrial systems in Iran. Stuxnet crippled Iran nuclear capabilities and is reportedly part of a larger US cyberwar plan.

The complex virus was one of the first malware used to take down national infrastructure, according to Jim Walters, manager of McAfee Threat Intelligence Service.

"Stuxnet was the first malware that was publicly reported to specifically attack industrial control systems, which can also be interpreted as an attack against critical infrastructure," Walters told V3.

"Detailed analyses found that Stuxnet is more than just a spy worm, it is a weapon written to sabotage a specific industrial installation."

A perpetrator has yet to be identified in the latest high-profile malware outbreak, the Flame virus.

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James Dohnert
About

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club, CachedTech.com, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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