Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stuxnet Worm

Has anyone heard of this new crazy super virus*?

It is so well-designed that it certainly had to have been designed by a government. It is able to attack previously unknown security flaws simultaneously and is able to lay dormant in a network until the hole presents itself. The idea behind this virus isn't the typical virus(you know fucking up your computer and stealing data.) This virus is about getting itself into the secure networks of industry and take control of industrial equipment. This could cause havoc with things like an electrical grid, nuclear power plant, refineries, etc.

This virus has first presented itself at a nuclear facility in Iran. The majority of this viruses infections have been in Iran. So, let's talk the geopolitics of this virus.

Since this virus was undoubtedly created by a government, there are really 3 candidates. In order they are Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom. These are nations who are not particularly friendly to Iran and staunchly opposed to Iranian Nuclear development. Also, these are 3 nations with intelligence agencies capable of pulling such an attack.

Israel is the obvious candidate. They hate Iran and wouldn't hesitate to strike if they feared Iran was close to getting a nuclear weapon. They do know that an actual military attack would cause an all out war and could potentially lose them some the United State's support, but using cyber warfare is covert and provides plausible deniability. If they can cause chaos in Iran's nuclear program without firing a shot, they won't have to attack Iran.

The United States isn't much of a fan of Iran either, but the United State's is afraid of a potential military strike of Iran by Israel. That would put the United States in a very tough position. There is the general United States policy that supports Israel no matter what, but if they attacked Iran any U.S. support of Israel in that attack would cause virtually every country in the Middle East to turn entirely hostile to the U.S. Again removing Iran's nuclear program without military involvement would be ideal.

Well, the British could do it, but I don't see the motive. The best I can come up with is the British have a traditional role of peace keeper and a computer virus to end Iran's nuclear program could prevent a potential all out war in the Middle East.

Is this a new era of Tech warfare? Instead of bombardment of a country's infrastructure, it could be crippled by a virus. I mean this is so new, it isn't clear whether or not a cyber attack will classify as an attack of warfare. Even if it was, as I stated before there is plausible deniability.

Kind of scary this world we live in**.

Thanks for reading and please comment.


*The link is to an article not the virus itself. Not clearly stating that can lead to awkward exchanges on twitter with Tara of Zaxy.
**It is also totally awesome

1 comment:

  1. We just got an email about this from our tech guy. He said to run Windows update and you will get a patch to protect your computer. Seems like a pretty scary worm.