Report: Israel-Linked Computer Virus Used To Hack Hotels Hosting Iran Talks


Kaspersky Lab ZAO,An Israeli-linked computer virus was purportedly found on computers at three luxury European hotels that have hosted negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

According to the report in the Wall Street Journal, the Russia-based cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab ZAO discovered the spyware virus after it had also been hacked itself. Kaspersky said that the spyware virus is an improved version of Duqu, a virus first identified in 2011 and believed to be linked to Israeli intelligence gathering.

While there remains many questions about how the virus can be used, researchers at Kaspersky said that it could have been used to “eavesdrop on conversations and steal electronic files by commandeering the hotel systems that connect to computers, phones, elevators and alarms, allowing them to turn them on and off at will to collect information,” the report said.

U.S. intelligence officials said that while the new virus “bore no overt links to Israel,” it borrowed heavily from the original Duqu virus and “could not have been created by anyone without access to the original Duqu source code.”

A Wall Street Journal report in March claimed that Israel was spying on closed-door nuclear talks between Iran and world powers and was using the information it gathered to build a case against the emerging deal with the Islamic Republic, including sharing information with U.S. lawmakers who are also critical of the negotiations with Iran.