Ex-CIA chief: Stuxnet a good idea

Much-reported computer code interrupted Iran's nuclear program, but Gen. Mike Hayden tells "60 Minutes" the identity of its author remains unknown.

Former CIA chief Gen. Mike Hayden says the Stuxnet virus that sabotaged the Iranian nuclear program was a "good idea."

Uncovering the hand behind Stuxnet

Who was behind Stuxnet?

"This was a good idea, all right? But I also admit this was a big idea too," Hayden said in an interview to be broadcast Sunday night on the CBS program "60 Minutes." "The rest of the world is looking at this and saying, 'Clearly, someone has legitimated this kind of activity as acceptable.'"

The computer worm was fingered as a culprit in the mass failure of centrifuges at Iran's nuclear fuel-enrichment facility at Natanz a couple of years ago. Stuxnet, which first made headlines in July, is believed to be the first known malware that targets the controls at industrial facilities such as power plants. It's estimated that Stuxnet disabled more than 1,000 centrifuges.

However, the identity of the creators of Stuxnet remains shrouded in mystery, though some believe the U.S., in conjunction with Israel, sabotaged the Iranian system. Hayden, who also once ran the National Security Agency, denied knowing who was behind Stuxnet.

About the author

Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.

 

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