Washington: US President Barack Obama ordered the Stuxnet cyber attack on Iran against its would-be nuclear power preparations, according to a new book citing senior Washington sources.
The computer virus, aimed at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, was designed to damage centrifuges by making secret adjustments to the machines controlling them.
According to The Telegraph, it was part of a ``wave`` of digital attacks on Iran`s code named ``Olympic Games`` program.
It was created with the assistance of a secret Israeli intelligence unit, a report based on a book chronicling secret wars under the Obama administration revealed.
Computer security experts, who detected and forensically examined Stuxnet in 2010, said that the technical expertise and human intelligence sources needed to create ``world`s first cyberweapon`` was through a joint operation by American and Israeli agencies.
It is estimated that Stuxnet crippled around 1,000 of 5,000 Natanz centrifuges by spinning them at damagingly high speeds.
"This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction," Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, said.
"Obama wanted to get credit for Stuxnet, as that makes him look tough against Iran," Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, one of the security firms that have investigated Stuxnet, said.
Confirmation of America`s involvement in Stuxnet attacks came after computer security experts began to unravel an even more complicated virus, Flame, which was detected last month and also appears to target Iran.
The same officials declined to say whether the United States was involved in the ``Flame`` attack, which appears to have begun five years ago, although they did say it was not part of the ``Olympic Games`` program.