Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cyber Bombs for Iranian Nukes?

In the past several months, tension had heightened on the question of whether or not Israel would attack the burgeoning Iranian nuclear programme. While no bombs have been released, there are speculations that the Iranian programme is already reeling under an Israeli attack - from cyberspace. ( Eurasia Review)
The computer worm Stuxnet was discovered in July this year, when a Belarus-based security company discovered it on computers belonging to an Iranian client. After months of study, the consensus among security experts is that the worm, which easily surpasses anything they’ve ever seen before must have been built specifically to sabotage Iranian nuclear facilities, presumably the Bushehr reactor complex.
According to Wikipaedia: Russian digital security company Kaspersky Labs released a statement that described Stuxnet as "a working and fearsome prototype of a cyber-weapon that will lead to the creation of a new arms race in the world." Kevin Hogan, Senior Director of Security Response at Symantec, noted that 60 percent of the infected computers worldwide were in Iran, suggesting its industrial plants were the target.”(
Last year, Israeli media reported that some of the Iranian centrifuges refining uranium may have been undermined by deliberately erroneous commands received from cyberspace, which eventually may have either destroyed equipment or corrupted the enrichment process. The Iranians confirm disruptions and delays in their operations. It would appear the attack is still on-going; and this one, at least thus far, has not involved any troops or bullets.
According to PC World : “So scary, so thorough was the reconnaissance, so complex the job, so sneaky the attack, that (all the experts consulted) believe it couldn't be the work of even an advanced cybercrime gang. The size and scope of the cyber attack suggests that only a sophisticated nation state capable of devoting considerable resources to the effort would be capable of mounting such an effort. Of course the most likely nation to mount such an attack would be Israel.”

PostScript: It is interesting that the “experts” have concluded that the Stuxnet worm is so complicated that it could not have been developed even by just some talented hackers, but by a State with considerable resources to deploy. Yet it is also “experts” who tenaciously insist that real biological worms, infinitely more complicated than cyberworms, evolved just by accident without any intelligent creator at all. Hmm!

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