In 2009 and 2010, the US attacked Iran with a computer virus known as Stuxnet, aiming to sabotage the nation’s civilian nuclear program. While the virus succeeded in doing some damage, it also caused huge problems internationally as the virus spread to industrial computers worldwide. Today, sources are reporting that a parallel Stuxnet attack was launched on North Korea.
US intelligence sources say the US created an entire parallel virus that was aimed specifically at Korean-language computers in hopes of damaging North Korea’s own military nuclear program. The attack failed, however, and the virus was never able to infiltrate North Korean systems.
Ironically, a major obstacle to the attack on North Korea was its international isolation, which was itself the result of decades of US policy toward them. With North Korea’s systems largely unconnected to international systems, there was no way for the virus to get in.
The Stuxnet virus did huge amounts of damage worldwide through mid-2012, when it self-destructed. Despite the backlash from all the industrial damage Stuxnet did, the Obama Administration continued to order agencies to develop and launch cyberattacks against foreign targets.