Report from Wall Street Journal claim cyber attack on hotels hosting Iran nuclear talks; International media report Israel as responsible, Israel denies any involvement
The Wall Street Journal confirmed reports of a virus hacking in three hotels that were hosting Iran nuclear talks, the report linking the hacking and reports of espionage on the State of Israel.
Both Swiss and Austrian investigators have launched probes into the alleged spying Thursday. Switzerland’s attorney general’s office conducted raids in the hotel locations from May 6, seizing computer equipment due to “suspicion of illegal intelligence services operating in Switzerland” the office stating that “The aim of this raid was on one hand to gather evidence and to on the other verify if information systems had been infected by malware.”
The Russian cyber-security firm, Kaspersky, confirmed that, “The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism is aware of the information and is reviewing it.” Kaspersky claims that a newly advanced malware software Duqu, a spying tool which was eradicated in 2012, was used to spy on nuclear negotiations.
Director of the global research and analysis team at Kaspersky stated that the virus includes over “100 discrete modules that would have enabled the attackers to commandeer infected computers.” The virus reportedly could enable “two-way microphones in hotel elevators, computers and alarm systems”.
The Wall Street Journal report did not name Israel I specifically, it claimed that, “current and former US officials and many cyber-security experts (as believing that) Duqu was designed to carry out Israel’s most sensitive intelligence-collection operations.”
Israel has denied any involvement, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely stating on Thursday in response to the allegations to Israel’s Army radio that, “The international reports of Israeli involvement in the matter are baseless” adding that, “What is much more important is that we prevent a bad agreement, otherwise at the end of the day we’ll find ourselves with an Iranian nuclear umbrella.” Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister, Eli Ben-Dahan, immediately rejected any involvement by the State of Israel on Wednesday when the report was released, stating that the allegations were “nonsense”.
The reports come just a few days after Israeli media claimed that the Director of the CIA, John Brennan visited Israel over the week to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli officials to discuss the progress in nuclear talks between Israel and world powers, a deadline for a final agreement set for June 30 of this month. He reportedly informed Israel that a nuclear deal with Iran will not include any commitment from Iran to allow access for inspectors to its military sites or Iranian consent to interviewing its scientists.