Military Victory? Worm Delays Iran's Nuke Ambitions

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Some have called it a digital warhead. Stuxnet - the computer worm that infected computers inside Iran's nuclear program -- may have caused a two-year setback in the Islamic Republic's development of an atomic weapon. 

Some have even considered it a military victory.

Israel, the U.S. and/or other Western nations have been suspected of creating the malicious software.

Yael Shahar, who heads the database program at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism said that it has become "very, very obvious" that the worm did "serious damage." It "did what it was supposed to do."

"Once it wakes up it looks around and says, 'Where am I?' and when it find this particular system it says, 'I'm home. Let me go to work,'" Shahar told CBN News. "And then it starts doing things,"

And go to work it did.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted a computer code created problems for what he said were a "limited" number of centrifuges.

Centrifuges enrich uranium, which could be used to make nuclear energy or warheads for missiles or bombs.

The International Atomic Energy Agency officially announced Iran had to shut down its main uranium enrichment plant at Natanz last month.

A top German computer consultant told The Jerusalem Post it could take Iran two years to get its nuclear program back on track.

"This was nearly as effective as a military strike but even better since there are no fatalities and no full-blown war," Langer said. "From a military perspective, this was a huge success."

Shahar said she believes the Stuxnet worm will go down as a first in military history.

"Cyber warfare is the wave of the future, because the more systems become dependent on systems, digital systems, online systems -- then the more vulnerabilities there are," she said.

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Julie Stahl

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