(Times of Israel) Stuxnet, the virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear program and that may or may not have been developed by Israel and the US, was already doing its destructive work in 2007, two years earlier than previously thought.

And, said one expert on hacking in the Middle East, versions of Stuxnet, which are still plaguing Iran’s nuclear program, have apparently been a factor in preventing the Islamic Republic from achieving nuclear capability — one reason why predictions that Iran would soon achieve nuclear capability have not yet panned out.

In fact, said Dr. Tal Pavel, an expert on Internet usage and hacking in the Middle East, it’s safe to say that the Stuxnet attacks were planned out and executed as part of a deliberate policy to deny Iran nuclear weapons, as opposed to an idea that was executed in response to specific statements or actions by Tehran. “It’s likely there are other cyber aspects of this policy that we have not yet heard about,” Pavel said.

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