Report: Israel-linked computer virus used to hack hotels hosting Iran talks

The website of Kaspersky Lab ZAO, which was hacked by an Israel-linked computer virus that was found on computers at three hotels hosting the Iran nuclear talks. Credit: Screenshot.

( 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.” 

On Thursday, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Army Radio, "All the international reports on Israeli involvement in the [hacking] matter are baseless. What is much more important is preventing a bad deal. Otherwise, we'll ultimately find ourselves with an Iranian nuclear umbrella."

Posted on June 10, 2015 .