CBS News magazine 60 Minutes is going to run a piece about a particular computer virus on Sunday. It's called Stuxnet and it was specifically designed to attack specific computers doing specific duties.
Stuxnet was first discovered in the summer of 2010. No one knows who wrote the code, but it's believed that the US and Israeli governments were responsible.
"It had very specific characteristics that nobody had ever seen before," said Dr. Ravi Pendse of Wichita State University. "It was a very innovative and creative and incredibly intelligent worm."
The malware only targeted Seimens supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, systems that are configured to monitor the processes of a nuclear facility. The Iranian power plants use Seimens computers. If Stuxnet is exposed to a different computer or a Seimens computer that's doing something else, the virus will not activate.
"I remember a researcher made a comment saying 'this is almost like a lab rat that didn't like my cheese!' It was looking for a specific cheese!"
Stuxnet tricks a computer into telling a nuclear plant worker that the plant is running normally, when in fact things are breaking down.
"It looked at what the sensor signals were, copied them, and then replayed it while the damage was being made."
These kinds of cyber attacks, Dr. Pendse says, will be part of modern day warfare.