Sunday, October 3, 2010

cyberwars and Stuxnet : WWIII may - or may have - started in cyber-space

Stuxnet is a very unique and powerful malware program (think virus) that is installed on a specific PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) device that looks for a particular setting on Siemens equipment.  It then interjects its own code into the device.  The infected equipment can then be used to turn off or destroy the infrastructure that it controls.  While it was created a year ago, it was first found in Siemens equipment in India in May 2010 (some sources say the first finding was in june or july)

Stuxnet is very complex and specific.  Most [internet] security experts believe it was designed by a nation state for a specific target.  That target was apparently Iran's nuclear program and specifically its Bushehr reactor which, when operational, will be able to be used to make nuclear weapons grade fuel from the spent rods.  It is interesting Stuxnet has also spread to China recently.

Currently Russian nuclear engineers, technicians, and contractors are fleeing Iran since Iran has been questioning the foreign nationals [Russians] who have been working in Iran's nuclear program.  It is unclear if Stuxnet was sent through the internet to infect Iran's nuclear equipment and then was installed on the equipment by the Russian nuclear workers or if it was unwittingly brought into the country by the Russian workers via infected Siemens equipment.

Because of the Stuxnet infection of its nuclear program, Iran is threatening war against its enemies (the rest of the world) and because of this and new threats by Osama bin Laden,  the UK, Germany, France, and Sweden are on high terror alert.  The United States has put Europe on a travel advisory for American citizens.  There is expected to be a major terror attack soon and apparently they expect it to be in Europe.

Very interesting over the past year the United States was wanting an increase in internet security and Obama wanted powers to turn off the internet if needed.  I wonder if they knew about Stuxnet last year and wanted to prepare for repercussions from it after it was deployed

Stay tuned for further updates as the situation warrants.



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