Next generation Stuxnet worm in the works, says Iran news agency

An Iranian news agency says that a new worm more powerful than Stuxnet is being developed to disrupt the country's nuclear program.


According to Iran's news agency, Saudi Arabian and Israeli spy agencies are working together to develop a worm powerful enough to sabotage the country's nuclear program.

Ian's FARS news agency reported the news -- far-fetched as it may sound -- that Stuxnet version 2 was discussed at a meeting between the two sides on November 24 in Vienna.

Citing "an informed source close to the Saudi secret service," the publication says that Saudi Arabia and Israel are attempting to create the next-generation malware to "disrupt Iran's nuclear program after they failed to block a nuclear deal between Tehran and the world powers." The anonymous source told FARS:

"One of the proposals raised in the meeting was the production of a malware worse than the Stuxnet (a comprehensive U.S.-Israeli program designed to disrupt Iran's nuclear technology) to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran’s nuclear program."

The agency says that the project, which would require roughly $1 million in funding, was "welcomed" by Saudi officials, and was allegedly agreed upon in response to the deal struck on November 24 between the U.S., Iran, U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany. The interim nuclear deal will cap Iran's nuclear facilities and improve monitoring in return for billions in sanction relief, but has been branded by Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu as an "historic mistake."

According to the news agency, Saudi officials have called the deal the "West's treachery."

However, it is worth keeping in mind that the agency's editorial reliability has been called into question, after an entire satirical Onion story was lifted last year, claiming that 77 percent of rural white U.S. voters would rather have a beer with the Iranian leader than their own president. While Israel is unlikely to want to risk its relationship with the U.S., it may be that if true, the malware is being designed as backup if the nuclear deal stalls.