Articles, Blog

The Virus That Saved The World From Nuclear Iran? STUXNET

December 29, 2019

This episode is brought to you by Dashlane;
never forget another password and keep all your credentials secure by signing up for
a free account today! One day early in 2007, an Iranian nuclear
engineer plugged his laptop into a secure computer network at the infamous Natanz Enrichment
Complex. Weeks later, and without a single alarm or
warning from the computers that oversaw their operation, hundreds of uranium enrichment
centrifuges began to spin wildly out of control, causing massive destruction as they tore themselves
to pieces while leaving Iran’s best engineering and scientific minds completely mystified
as to the cause. Today, we’ll find out how and why, in this
episode of The Infographics Show: Stuxnet, the virus that crippled the Iranian nuclear
program. To understand Stuxnet, first we have to understand
the background of the Iranian nuclear program and its regional implications. In the 1950s, under the Atoms For Peace program,
the US provided Iran- who was at the time a regional ally- technical training and a
small experimental nuclear reactor with the aim of establishing a civilian nuclear energy
program. This assistance continued until the Iranian
Revolution in 1979, when, faced with an end of American aid and a mass exodus of Iran’s
top scientific and engineering minds, combined with Ayatollah Khameini’s opposition to nuclear
power, Iran shuttered its nuclear power program. Just five years later though, in 1984, Ayatollah
Khameini would rethink his stance on nuclear power, and decided that in the face of a hostile
Iraq and a State of Israel well-supplied with nuclear weapons, Iran’s security rested on
the development of its own weapons. Under the guise of resurrecting its civilian
energy program, Iran began to seek technical training and materials from Russia, China
and Pakistan. This would lead to an escalating cycle of
sanctions and defiance between Iran and the UN over the course of the next few decades,
culminating with the discovery of secret uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and other
sites, and plans to outfit ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. With Israel pushing for armed intervention
and the US growing in favor of a military solution, Iran was pressured to adopt the
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in July of 2015, outlying a path to de-escalation
of sanctions in exchange for complete transparency and dismantling of its nuclear program. From the start of Iran’s nuclear ambitions
in the 1980s, Israel expressed immediate concern about a nuclear-capable Iran. The US shared these concerns, but saw any
direct military intervention as potentially destabilizing and feared a regional war. Facing a hostile and nuclear-armed neighbor
just hundreds of miles from its borders though, a frustrated Israel took matters into its
own hands and began an extensive clandestine campaign against Iran’s nuclear program. Iranian nuclear materials were sabotaged or
destroyed, and its scientists and engineers bribed to defect, or, failing that, were targeted
for assassination. Though still pushing for a diplomatic solution,
the US saw the need to delay Iran’s nuclear program and joined in Israel’s campaign of
sabotage, intercepting and rerouting shipments of power supplies and vacuum pumps to US facilities
where they were retooled with small but fatal flaws. With Iran catching on to the CIA’s industrial
sabotage and doubling down on its nuclear ambitions, in 2006 a frustrated President
George W. Bush told senior staff that his options on Iran were binary: go to war to
stop its nuclear program, or allow it to complete it. He then tasked national security advisor Stephen
Hadley and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with finding a third option. The solution came from US Strategic Command,
who oversees the nation’s nuclear arsenal. In cooperation with the NSA, they proposed
a delaying tactic that could slow Iran’s nuclear program and buy time for diplomacy and sanctions
to work, hopefully averting all-out war. To achieve this delay, US StratCom and the
NSA proposed a brand new type of weapon never before used by the United States or any other
nation: a cyber weapon that would not just infect Iranian computer networks, but actually
create physical destruction by completely hijacking those same networks. Thus, under the codename of Olympic Games,
Stuxnet was born. Spearheaded by the NSA, the goal of Olympic
Games was ambitious: penetrate the computer networks of Iran’s most heavily guarded nuclear
facilities and deliberately destroy the enrichment centrifuges via electronic sabotage. The centrifuges were specifically targeted
because of their delicate nature; raw Uranium contains two isotopes, U-235 and U-238. In order to create a bomb, you need 90% pure
U-235, but unrefined uranium only contains about .7% U-235. To create weapons-grade uranium, the raw ore
is mixed with hydroflouric acid to create a gas which is then inserted into a centrifuge
which spins at over 100,000 RPM- or faster than the speed of sound. Because U-238 is about 1% heavier than U-235,
the U-238 atoms are pushed to the walls of the centrifuge, and the gas in the center
containing concentrated U-235 atoms is siphoned out and fed into another centrifuge. This process is repeated over and over again,
linking long chains of centrifuges together in banks until finally extracting a purified
gas mixture with a heavy concentration of U-235. Because of the incredible speeds of an enrichment
centrifuge, they are very delicate; the tiniest engineering flaw or fluctuation in power can
cause one to spin out of control and tear itself, and anything in its vicinity, apart. It’s this vulnerability that Olympic Games
would target. In order to achieve its objective, Olympic
Games would act in stages- first a ‘beacon’ would be inserted into the computer networks
at Natanz and other enrichment facilities. This beacon would completely map the network
and then ‘phone home’ back to the NSA with security details and how the centrifuges were
connected to their controlling computers. Then a new, active version of the malware
would be developed and reinserted into Iranian networks where it would lie dormant for weeks,
monitoring the day-to-day activities of a plant before finally going active. Upon being activated, the malware would ingeniously
playback signs of normal operations to the humans monitoring the computer systems while
it was in fact beginning its attack. Deep in their control center, Iranian engineers
would have no idea that miles away, centrifuges spinning at the speed of sound were tearing
themselves, and anything caught in their path, to shreds. Because the goal of Olympic Games was to delay
Iran’s nuclear program, Stuxnet had to be completely undetectable and untraceable- to
that end it was designed to never attack in the same fashion twice, leaving Iranian scientists
and engineers frustrated and pointing fingers, blaming each other for faulty engineering
or just plain bad luck. At first, President Bush expressed doubts
over the capabilities of a simple computer bug- that is, until a senior national security
advisor dumped wreckage from a centrifuge destroyed in a secret test directly onto his
desk. Olympic Games was immediately approved. However, like most military and government
networks at the time, the Iranian computer networks were secured by being completely
disconnected from any internet connection in a method known as ‘air gapping’. To help Olympic Games bridge that physical
gap, the NSA began cooperation with their Israeli counterparts, who had amassed a great
amount of intelligence on Iranian personnel and facilities. Together the US and Israel created a list
of Iranian scientists and engineers with two critical qualities: they had physical access
to enrichment facilities and displayed poor electronic security habits. These individuals were then targeted with
malware and had their laptops and flash drives infected over the internet. When they plugged in to the secure networks
at Natanz and other facilities to do their work, Stuxnet would then jump back and forth
freely- effectively giving the US and Israel complete two-way access. Olympic Games began operation in 2006 and
lasted until 2010 when a new version of the Stuxnet malware began to unexpectedly replicate
across the entire internet, infection millions of computers globally. Though relatively harmless, as it was designed
to specifically operate only in the environment of an Iranian nuclear facilities network,
the source code for the malware was now publicly available and knowledge of its origin in the
US and Israel became a matter of time. Both nations shifted blame back and forth
for its unexpected release, but continued cooperation, and despite Stuxnet being pulled
apart by computer engineers around the world, waged their campaign of sabotage successfully
for another year. Ultimately, the efficacy of Stuxnet is still
debated to this day, but most agree that the virus added years of delay to Iran’s nuclear
program and prevented Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon long enough to bring them
to the negotiating table, possibly averting all-out war in the world’s most volatile region. And while you at home are not operating any
nuclear enrichment machines, there are viruses out there that will try and steal your password
if you don’t know how to keep yourself secure. Dashlane is a password manager that makes
it easy for you to control your digital identity. Whether you’re great with computers or not,
Dashlane is extremely easy to use! To make the lives of the staff at The Infographics
show easier, we’ve all started using Dashlane. Try Dashlane completely free for 30 days,
and discover how much easier your password life can be! Anytime you have to come up with a new password,
you can use Dashlane to generate a super secure one. The security of Dashlane is awesome, but the
autofill is what makes it so much fun to use: you’ll never have to login to another website
again, Dashlane does it automatically for you! Dashlane is available for PC’s, Mac’s,
iOS and Android devices, and if you use Dashlane Premium, you can sync your passwords and secure
login details across all your devices. Become more secure and support The Infographics
Show at the same time by using the code ‘infographics’, and get 10% off Dashlane Premium from the
get-go, by going to or clicking the link in the description. So, what do you think about the US and Israel’s
use of Stuxnet? Is sabotage and diplomacy enough to deter
rogue states from developing nuclear weapons, or is the risk of nuclear proliferation too
great for anything less than military force? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called Iran vs the United States! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!


  • Reply The Infographics Show December 10, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Is cyber warfare nowadays a bigger part of the country's security than fighting with bombs and bullets? Is it's importance overlooked since it's not in the daily news?

  • Reply IR - U January 1, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Iranians are not Arabs

  • Reply Sarah Dobrewski January 2, 2019 at 11:24 am

    2:14 that’s totally not how Iranians dress ?

  • Reply Omnistar Artificial Intelligence January 3, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    The title implies Iran would have used the bombs if they had gotten them, so no, they didn't save the world, they just prevented Iran from having enough power to refuse the U.S. crippling sanctions

  • Reply Amir MD January 5, 2019 at 7:29 am

    We are Persian NOT ARAB!!! and virus didn't save the world it just made cyber warfare

  • Reply Boi January 5, 2019 at 7:37 am

    You do no in depth research and you don’t give a damn if you offend a whole race or culture

  • Reply Tyler January 5, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    This is an incredibly biased title

  • Reply Relaxing Storm January 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Just wow

  • Reply Katherine Brochey January 8, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Stuxnet was SUPER advance! I find this malware amazing!

  • Reply pouya the killer January 8, 2019 at 10:57 am

    How stupid can you be why u think iranians are arab?

  • Reply Boo January 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    To say the virus "Saved the world" is a big overstatement. But this specific case is an interesting study of how the landscape of cold wars have changed.

  • Reply Tracy Hien Tran January 9, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Everyone knows that idiot

  • Reply Aurobindo Ghosh January 9, 2019 at 6:27 am

    so they love virus prone windows systems?

  • Reply Jake Watson January 9, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    How did I get out of Iraq.


  • Reply DSVerified January 10, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Viruses have a good purpose after all huh?

  • Reply Roma Channel January 11, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    | |
    | |
    |- – – –
    | / |
    | / /
    _ _ _ _/

  • Reply Max Xiang January 12, 2019 at 5:28 am

    how is 100 000 rpm faster than the speed of sound?

  • Reply Someone 234 January 13, 2019 at 4:41 am

    No Country is Stupid Enough is use Nukes

  • Reply Command Block January 14, 2019 at 12:58 am

    I tried to paste the code but it won’t work

  • Reply Command Block January 14, 2019 at 12:58 am


  • Reply Command Block January 14, 2019 at 12:59 am

    Error 400

  • Reply Command Block January 14, 2019 at 1:00 am


  • Reply Matt Hyde January 21, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Any one that believes stuxnet was the first time a government had used cyber weapons or anything like that is naive

  • Reply Phil Man January 21, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Logic in America: we keep peace even though we nuke and murder innocent children all over the world and then hide it and deny it when people bring it up

  • Reply Jex Sams January 22, 2019 at 5:10 am

    For some reason i think Israel is probably the most dangerous against terrorists yet my father thinks they are terrorists themselves that supply ISIS but for some reason i don't show concern hoping its not real because living in Australia i always wanted to Sayeret Matkal or Mossad.

  • Reply godofdarknes January 24, 2019 at 6:31 am

    This comment section is so edgy, that its spliting the ground undery desk in two.

  • Reply POKEFAN FIDEL January 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Who would win?

    A super computer that control everything

    A weird looking place disk with skull logo

  • Reply Amin Razawan January 29, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Sb get this crazy guy out of my way!

  • Reply Dr.Santosh Kawade February 3, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Uncle Sam created its own enemy

  • Reply Vyacheslav Lisiy February 3, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    And then Trump pulled out of the treaty. The End.

  • Reply Yuen Kik Li February 3, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Stops Iran's nuke investment
    Others : YESSSSS
    someone: Isn't there still a million of nukes around the globe ?

  • Reply Masoud Tavakolian February 5, 2019 at 10:18 am

    The Virus That Couldn't Prevent Iranian's Nuclear Energy That Wasn't for War And It Was Just for Iran Industry ِAnd Peace In The World.

  • Reply FFR III February 15, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Amazed at the amount of braindead fucks in the comments, Isreal funded isis, they have nukes, no one cares, Iran refrains from possessing nukes and admits it and they still try pressure them, THE US has used nuclear bombs on people, and you call the US a stable country? Iran hasn’t funded any terrorist groups, and has only funded ANTI terrorist groups to drive out isis, a US and Isreali made group, to destable the east, do your research your braindead fucks.

  • Reply IPushHard February 16, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Thus the argument against Smart appliances, smart gas meters (which regulate the flow), as depicted in this video ANYTHING SMART IS VULNERABLE.
    Keep your house and your brain off the web…Oh yeah, they are already working on ways to connect humans to the web. Neural networking is coming.
    Then, you can be KILLED REMOTELY from thousands of miles away…by some hacker.
    Totally insane.

  • Reply Darian Dalili February 18, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    It's hilarious and also very sad how you have illustrated both Persians and Israelis with the traditional Arab clothing… Neither group EVER wears that.

  • Reply Agoraphobic News February 26, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    this virus could have started a horrific nuclear catastrophe whose effects would be felt beyond the middle east + it almost caused ww3.

  • Reply Lυиαтyc February 27, 2019 at 11:53 am

    >saved the world from Iran

  • Reply Alma Martinez February 27, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    I think nations should be allowed to develop nuclear energy, but nuclear weapons are a whole 'nother ballpark. Yes, nukes dissuade other countries from attacking, but that's only if they're just there for show, so to speak. Iran seemed to want to go the way of North Korea, that's when nuclear development is dangerous.

    Stuxnet is a really gray area. On one hand it was the start of cyberweapons, on another hand it was made literally to stop some mad person from getting nukes.

  • Reply Mamta Yadav March 5, 2019 at 8:38 am

    The State Of United States Of America – The Biggest Terrorist Out There.

  • Reply Syed Naqvi March 6, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    OKAY,Get your research done and then make videos because I.R IRAN has signed nuclear non-proliferation deal which ISRAEL hasn't and has more nukes than any other country in the middle east,So who is the threat??,by the way if you're american, i feel pity on you cause zillion dollars are invested on iron dome,fulfilling CORRUPT netanyahu's expense and you're devoid of any educational investments,medical investments etc..

    CONCLUSION – America and Israel(illicit country) are threat to HUMANITY and not I.R IRAN.

  • Reply CCCP March 13, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    STUXNET 2.0 in operation on the recent Venezuela blackout :'D

  • Reply finophile March 18, 2019 at 5:30 am

    why have you drawn the Israelis in Arab garb?? Did you not know they were enemies?

  • Reply /V I G G E R March 21, 2019 at 6:27 am

    a muslim country should not be allowed to have nukes…….

  • Reply DaDARKPass March 24, 2019 at 12:48 am

    I still don't understand, WHY DO PEOPLE THINK IRAN IS SOME CRAZY COUNTRY THAT WOULD USE A NUKE? If you don't trust Iran with nukes, why do you trust pakistan or India?

  • Reply soheil vaziry March 29, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    why you use Arab person pls research

  • Reply Arian EK March 30, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Iranian not arab ✔

  • Reply Nadav Levy April 6, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    2:32 why did you portray Israelis as arabs?

  • Reply TNLG and science with Zony April 7, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Iran : we have a better military
    Isreal : We have a Stuxnet

  • Reply BLVSPHEMY April 17, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    I feel like this channel has the loudest audio output on YouTube. This mf yelling like its people sleep in the back of the lecture hall.

  • Reply Kisu Ke April 29, 2019 at 5:34 am

    Why US doesn’t allow Iran a nuclear capabilities and try to destroy it while US themselves is racing a nuclear technology including warheads. You can’t stop someone killing an ant while you’re also killing it at the same time! So why it is allowed?

  • Reply WIntel May 3, 2019 at 3:42 am

    "saved"? Don't make me laugh

  • Reply SKILL BRO May 9, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Americans destroying middle East and handing over Afghanistan to terrorist and helping Pakistan aquire new jets and saying climate change is a hox well now you know who is the real culprit of all wars America it's the one that destroyed all nations because they didn't bend to their will

  • Reply Tic-tac-toe May 11, 2019 at 8:50 am

    israel made stuxnet

  • Reply SamanthaCoolBeans May 13, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    so many minor technical errors in this video

  • Reply dani mirkin May 22, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    besides what the virus does everything is wrong but i cant expand because of my classification

  • Reply Jebbidan May 25, 2019 at 5:53 am

    yeah … stuxnet… a virus that saved the world. i don't buy it because here, stuxnet is the same virus that started cyber warfare

  • Reply Ginger Labs May 25, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Demonization for telling people how to make a nuke

  • Reply MOHAMED AMINE SABAOUI May 28, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    "Saved the world" like Iran was the first country to throw a nuke on another one. Mind that it's the U.S who did that.

  • Reply Sly Fox June 2, 2019 at 7:36 am


  • Reply Trapfact June 4, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    We are not arab .. Dont animate us like that

  • Reply Auazz June 6, 2019 at 1:29 pm


    US needs Oil to run dem Nukes and the middle east has plenty

  • Reply Faithful June 15, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Long live iran

  • Reply Alan Blanchet June 16, 2019 at 2:40 am

    worst voiceover ever…like ya know!

  • Reply 委誕Trap June 18, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    please do it again legend i beg u

  • Reply Echryzion June 19, 2019 at 1:09 pm


  • Reply Simon Peter June 19, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Iranians can’t help open those funny cat video emails.

  • Reply karleldin1 June 19, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    And caused the Fukushima meltdown that destroyed whole ecosystems as well as being responsible for thousands of deaths and untold amounts of radioactive material leaking out! Yeah thanks for 'saving' the world!!!!

  • Reply LOUCO June 23, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Why other country can't have nuclear weapon ? And US can have it ?

  • Reply Sudarshan June 24, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    what do you mean saved???
    Iran also have rights to procure nukes

  • Reply waheed iqbal June 25, 2019 at 10:33 am


  • Reply Connor Murray July 2, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Google Chrome has autofill built in

  • Reply Fuzzy Boi July 6, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    0:46 thats a British plane. A lancaster if im not mistaken.

  • Reply Love Less July 6, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Yes. Im so concerned about a nuclear iran

  • Reply CuppedRamen July 15, 2019 at 9:57 pm


  • Reply sk8punk318 July 19, 2019 at 1:41 am

    Smooth move America

  • Reply Mehran Kheiri July 19, 2019 at 11:31 am

    why are Iranian characters wearing Arab's clothesing???‍♂️?

  • Reply Agastya B Khare July 21, 2019 at 6:28 am

    India and Afghanistan: stap infografics Show

  • Reply Thereal Batman July 28, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    They did not save the world. Iran should be able to protect itself the same way America is able to. Hypocrites.

  • Reply Hated by the World August 14, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    What's make usa nuclear power safer than Iran's?

  • Reply y s August 24, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Why are israelis dressed like arabs… Israelis are jews not arabs

  • Reply Gabriel Weinberg September 7, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    version 2.0 coming

  • Reply Pouyan JR September 18, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    There are a lot of countries in the Middle East with different cultures, languages, skin tones and races. You need to do a brief research before animating new episodes! Those Arabian white robes (known as “Thawb”) are mostly worn in Saudi Arabia and some other countries on the southern region of Persian Gulf. Yet this is not even the first time that you represent any Middle-Easter with this type of looks!
    This is not an unimportant mistake, but (no offense) an absolute ignorance! I highly recommend reading “A Peace to End All Peace” by David Fromkin, just to know how far could this ignorance take the humanity.

  • Reply Gerald Maxwell October 3, 2019 at 6:29 am

    Iranians have never worn Saudi attire .Like ever.

  • Reply MayhemThePinkFluffyUnicorn October 15, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Where are the sources for any of this?

  • Reply Musick Prankz October 17, 2019 at 6:03 am

    In my country, the Philippines, we also have a Nuclear Program. First, it starts with the flag ceremony and then…

  • Reply AUDE SAPERE November 5, 2019 at 8:20 am


  • Reply Avalanche2 November 8, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    Stuxnet was a very minor delay – Iran now enriches more uranium than they ever have. Stuxnet was essentially a failure and an embarrassment to the US and Israel.

  • Reply royi soriano November 9, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    love your videos infographic show but israelis dont wear these cloths xD
    we are a modern contry like america we wear regular cloths 😀
    other then that great vid keep it up <3

  • Reply Zeb Zelezney November 11, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    It takes more effort to teach Americans "Iran is not an Arab country" than it does to rid Africa of AIDS and low IQ

  • Reply McLego Mods November 21, 2019 at 6:38 am

    I already use NordVPN

  • Reply uchihaRZA November 26, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    So the leaders of Iran that I've seen have dressed as such when meeting the President or PM of another country ? Why? Kind of wondering what they most traditionally wear? Not citizens but the leaders depicted here? I guess I never thought of it as Arabian clothing but desert clothing.

  • Reply 26island671 December 2, 2019 at 4:19 am

    2007? Not in 2010?

  • Reply Time to game now December 8, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Dashlane is virus

  • Reply Rude Uno Card December 9, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Uhh why Not nuclear Iran?

  • Reply Meghan Schuler December 12, 2019 at 4:47 am

    Doesn't this prove that Obama actually wanted the destruction of Israel and possibly the destruction of the US by Iran by providing them basically cover and funds to nunnelly fix the damage we had already done to save the planet but also to be able to do everything under Cloak and Dagger without the us or anyone else checking in on them? With taxpayer money I might add multiple Millions of taxpayer money.

  • Reply 187 .Jeddah December 13, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Irani not Arab they are hijma

  • Reply Emily Garcia December 19, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    I wish I was taught this whole thing in school! We didn’t really even learn much about Israeli x Pakistani war/violence

  • Reply Michael Mueller December 19, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    A leak from the NSA According to zero day documentary stuxnet was made by us uk and israel

  • Reply Pp Hardaway December 19, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    So, did you credit the dutch or shoddy research again?

  • Reply Sehajpal singh December 21, 2019 at 12:06 am

    the us feels only they should have nuclear weapons

  • Leave a Reply