Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military Security

Trojan Kill Switches In Military Technology 392

Posted by Soulskill
from the rockets-falling-out-of-the-sky dept.
Nrbelex writes "The New York Times reports in this week's Science section that hardware and software trojan kill switches in military devices are an increasing concern, and may have already been used. 'A 2007 Israeli Air Force attack on a suspected, partly-constructed Syrian nuclear reactor led to speculation about why the Syrian air defense system did not respond to the Israeli aircraft. Accounts of the event initially indicated that sophisticated jamming technology was used to blind the radars. Last December, however, a report in an American technical publication, IEEE Spectrum, cited a European industry source in raising the possibility that the Israelis might have used a built-in kill switch to shut down the radars. Separately, an American semiconductor industry executive said in an interview that he had direct knowledge of the operation and that the technology for disabling the radars was supplied by Americans to the Israeli electronic intelligence agency, Unit 8200.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Trojan Kill Switches In Military Technology

Comments Filter:
  • Open Source (Score:4, Insightful)

    by toppavak (943659) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:47AM (#29895669)
    Its a good thing the DoD is taking a stronger, more positive stance towards open source software. I guess the next logical step would be open source hardware.
    • by wjousts (1529427) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:52AM (#29895719)
      Yeah, great idea. Let's have everybody know the inner workings of our military hardware so that they can build their own.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I wonder if people from 2050 er 2060 where did the decade go? from 50 years in the future came back in time to now and dropped their latest microchip, if it would even be useful? Sure, they have picometer circuits, but so what? We still don't know how to make them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gd2shoe (747932)

          a) If we knew "the inner workings" of said chips, it would give us a substantial boost. We'd no longer be wondering how something could work, only how to make it. We'd probably also be able to infer some of the decisions that eventually led to that design.

          b) You should consider embracing your parenthetical statements with parenthesis:

          I wonder if people from 2050 er 2060 where did the decade go? from 50 years in the future...

          Becomes something like:

          I wonder if people from 2050-- er 2060 (where did the decade go?)-- from 50 years in the future...

      • Re:Open Source (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:36AM (#29896225) Homepage

        Oh jeebus. Building a missile, bomb or anything that kills people is NOT HARD. I can get the relevant documents needed for anyone with a mild training in electronics to build a guidance system for a missile or a homing system for a rocket.

        If you think there is something magical and wondrous in military hardware that makes it "special" you are watching way too much TV.

        Hell I have made ground launched model rockets that would home in on a ground target, and I did not use GPS to get within a 50 foot radius from a 1500 foot apogee point. This was with very basic electronics and almost no processing power plus parts from a hobby shop for helicopter and RC plane flying.

        I only needed 1-29/240 size engine to lift that payload. This was back in college for my EE degree, with todays stuff I could make the accuracy far better and use off the shelf GPS for long range AND would not need to lift as much as servos are smaller and lighter and the avaionics payload would be far lighter.

        Note: you can even buy UAV kits today.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by captaindomon (870655)
          Ok, I admit watching Iron Man gives you some false impressions. But I am also well acquainted with folks who work every day on the tech side of the defense industry. To take modern weapons systems and try to even think of equating them with your little toy rocket is ignorant at best, and flamebait at worst. That's like saying it's easy to put a man on the moon because you have a scuba diving suit, and a spacesuit is the same thing with a fishtank over your head. Or a CS undergrad saying they can write an OS
          • by aminorex (141494)

            There is a distinction to be made between a material resource budget and an information resource budget. Information is free. Rocket propellant is not free.

          • Re:Open Source (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Cyberax (705495) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:33AM (#29897119)

            Yes, toy rockets won't be reliable. Yes, they'll often fail. Yes, it's hard to scale the production.

            But they're more than enough for one-off operations like assassinations or terror acts.

          • Re:Open Source (Score:5, Insightful)

            by 2obvious4u (871996) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @11:13AM (#29897723)
            I think you missed the point. Yes military grade guidance systems that are accurate to with 1 meter and travel 500 miles are very advanced and a hobbyist couldn't build that from hobby store parts. However, if your goal is to indiscriminatingly kill people it is very easy to do with off the shelf components, if you are so inclined.

            Another thing you are forgetting is that we built atomic bombs with minimal computing power. The first computers had trouble doing ballistic tables. Now you could make ballistics tables as an iPhone app. The level of information processing available to the public is staggering. There really isn't much that an individual so inclined couldn't produce.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Bakkster (1529253)

              However, if your goal is to indiscriminatingly kill people it is very easy to do with off the shelf components, if you are so inclined.

              In general, only non-state actors want to kill people indiscriminately. Nations (Syria included) have to worry about their own people, diplomacy, UN resolutions, etc. If you're a terrorist organization, simple technology can fulfil your requirements. An IED is effective for an insurgency, but not for full-scale war.

              However, on the nation-nation level, it would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to carry out long-range warfare without comparable technology to your opponent. This stuff doesn't c

          • Re:Open Source (Score:5, Insightful)

            by kent_eh (543303) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @11:30AM (#29897993)
            Ummm. I think you guys are trying to make slightly different points.

            The parent was (I think) trying to refute the "you need secret stuff to build a machine that kills people" type claim.
            Which in no way contradicts your experience based statement, which I interpret as: "you really do need lots of advanced hi-tech to build an accurate, advanced, effective killing machine"
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ultranova (717540)

            But I am also well acquainted with folks who work every day on the tech side of the defense industry.

            You mean those people who have NDAs and will likely get charged with treason if they tell you anything of what they actually do? Or the people who have no NDAs because they do nothing of importance?

            Oh well, never mind, I'm sure either of these would make for an extremely reliable source of information.

        • by murdocj (543661)

          Just like building atomic bombs "is not hard". After all, poor countries like North Korea and Pakistan can do it.

          BUT building the FIRST atomic bomb took an enormous effort by the richest country on the planet. If my military has a technological advantage, I'd like to hang on to that advantage for as long as is possible.

        • Re:Open Source (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tibman (623933) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:16AM (#29896839) Homepage

          I'm sure the EE guys who built the Syrian's air defense system thought the same way as you. "I'll use all this great off-the-shelf tech, it's just so easy". Ohhh, it had a backdoor in the hardware... damn.

          I do get what you're saying, but i think it applies differently to platforms of war. When your opponent owns the companies that built half the parts for your weapon systems... can you really trust them?

          I have no doubt you could build some nifty weapons to seige a neighbor with but not a local government. The bomb techs would have analyzed the debris and come up with a short list for an investigator to pin down.

          One of my fav military techs is round return radar... even though it is simple and old. There's nothing like hearing outgoing fire before the first incoming round hits!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mpe (36238)
          Building a missile, bomb or anything that kills people is NOT HARD. I can get the relevant documents needed for anyone with a mild training in electronics to build a guidance system for a missile or a homing system for a rocket.

          However building a missile which destroys an invading warplane is rather harder. If you are in Syria, Lebanon, Iran (or quite a few other places) then this is the kind of missile you are likely to need.
          The claim here is that the attackers were somehow able to disable the SAMs which
      • by Sloppy (14984)

        Let's have everybody know the inner workings of our military hardware so that they can build their own.

        I agree. If we can trick them into spending a large fraction of their GDP building this useless shit, they will be unable to compete. Victory: ours. Please, opponents, build military hardware. Oh, and press more of your could-be-workers into military "service." Muahahaha!!

    • This is a good point or maybe a bad one depending upon which side you are on. I guess we need to be for open hardware, but really how would you know if the part is being supplied by the Chinese? It really would be hard to test for it. As for the Syrian stuff. That was just probably old Soviet stuff that got jammed by high powered AESA. No the Russians keep stuff to their selves like we do. They might sell countries weapons as we do, but there will something in there that is left out of the export package.

      ht [wikipedia.org]

  • Syria, you morons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:54AM (#29895739)

    That's what you get for not building the hardware yourself. We on the other hand have been intelligent enough not to outsource our industries to foreign countr... Doh.

  • by paiute (550198) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:54AM (#29895741)

    (ring)
    Hello. Syrian Air Defence.
    Hello, Mr. Air Defence. My name is Raji - I mean Bob - from technical support. I have a service request you made on your Acme 2001 Target Tracking Module.
    What? We are not having problem with that -
    Now, now. I have to clear this ticket, Mr. Air Defence. You wouldn't want me to get into trouble, would you?
    Well, no, I guess not.
    Ah. Good then. Please reboot your system and we can get started solving your problem.

  • Lesson learned? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblom@ g m a il.com> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:54AM (#29895743) Homepage Journal

    Dont buy important technology from foreign countries, do it yourself. Especially if you ever under any way, shape or form could cross paths with said foreign country.

    I think this should be a really big wakeup call to european countries that relies 100% on american tech, both on hardware and software.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Lesson learned? You must be joking.

      The military/corporate complex won't be happy until EVERYTHING is made overseas. It's better for their short-term budgets, you see. They know they would be first against the wall if there was ever any real problems here so why care if we're caught with our pants down militarily later on.

      • Re:Lesson learned? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by EvilBudMan (588716) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:19AM (#29896033) Journal

        --They know they would be first against the wall--

        No they don't know that or they wouldn't be doing this in the first place. I agree with your other assessments of short term thinking but they think they will get away with it and we will be left holding the bag. How many Nazi war criminals got away percentage wise? Few? Half? Most all of them?

    • Re:Lesson learned? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:13AM (#29895945)

      Dont buy important technology from foreign countries, do it yourself. Especially if you ever under any way, shape or form could cross paths with said foreign country.

      And in TFA they say that only 20% of chips are manufactured in the US - so that makes it kinda hard not to buy goods from foreign countries.

      However what you are suggesting is that 100% of goods used by the US military should be made in the US - and that might be a good reason in itself as that would certainly stimulate the US economy

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        However what you are suggesting is that 100% of goods used by the US military should be made in the US - and that might be a good reason in itself as that would certainly stimulate the US economy.

        Indeed. I've never understood any decisions to do otherwise. For example when the military wanted to replace their standard sidearm (The Colt M1911 - 84 years in service, but it was due for a change) they ended up going with a Beretta!?!?!

        An Italian company. For a handgun. Now, that's not to knock the Beretta M92. It's a good gun, but there are equally good American guns that would have done just fine. Most police departments (not technically military, but still goverment) have also gone with Glocks - a

        • The problem is that American companies act like jackasses toward the government. Not only do they tend to ridiculously inflate costs (especially American defense industries) but they also take weird ideological stances. I am thinking, of course, about Barrett firearms.

          I don't know why the government would want to do business with a domestic corporation like that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Dont buy important technology from foreign countries, do it yourself. Especially if you ever under any way, shape or form could cross paths with said foreign country. I think this should be a really big wakeup call to european countries that relies 100% on american tech, both on hardware and software.

      Why? Is America planning to invade France?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)

      That's assuming you can do it yourself. Syria is hardly a hotbed of industry and innovation, and most of the Middle East is even worse. E.g. when Libya gave up their "nuclear and biological weapons program", which had been reasonably well funded and resourced over several decades had lead to only one viable weapon, a landmine spiked with human faeces.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/dec/21/politics.libya [guardian.co.uk]

      Libya's biological weapons programme too has suffered from similar mismanagement and lack of funds, say sources; at best succeeding in producing munitions boobytrapped with human faeces that can be fatal if it enters the blood stream.

      So it's not too surprising these sorts of countries decided to buy stuff from the USSR instead. Unfo

    • Dont buy important technology from foreign countries, do it yourself. Especially if you ever under any way, shape or form could cross paths with said foreign country.

      I think this should be a really big wakeup call to european countries that relies 100% on american tech, both on hardware and software.

      I found it very upsetting to learn that the Brazilian government set up a PKI, but bought all the components for the vault with the root private key from US vendors.

      I went inside that vault to install the network synchronization server that gets the time from the Brazilian National Observatory and makes sure the machines inside the vault are set to Brazilian Legal Time, and I was impressed with the security measures the Brazilian government had taken, but I was just shocked that they would buy components,

    • by aminorex (141494)

      Warning for the US which has >90% of its call processing run by Israeli devices.

  • Outsourcing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:57AM (#29895765)
    You get what you deserve when you outsource...

    Seriously, I understand the cost benefits of going with the lowest quote and all but sometimes it's best to keep things "in house" to ensure quality and accountability. And that applies to companies all the way up to governments. In this case, when dealing with national defense, it especially applies to governments...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Where do you expect countries run by dictators (Syria has been under martial law since 1963 and more or less a client state for Iran) that have shit for university, shit for engineering, and oppression as the norm to get advanced anti-missile systems? They cant design their own. They would be starting with 1950s tech at best.

      They knew they were taking a chance with foreign made equipment, but, they really dont have a choice.

      Also, its worth noting that there may not have been an intentional backdoor/killswi

  • by Seth Kriticos (1227934) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:00AM (#29895811)

    Seriously, if you are going to wage war, it is a very bad idea to buy non trivial weapons systems from your enemy or his allies. Actually it's a bad idea to buy it from anyone that is not 100% on your side. Best would be to build it yourself.

    Those amateur war mongering folks down there. Still don't think that anyone is learning out of it, I mean, where are the chips for NATO equipment come from? Oh yea, who manufactures them cheapest. How does this make sense in the context?

    • This is why it's so important for Taiwan/ROC to continue programs like the Indigenous Defense Fighter, but the KMT is too busy irrumating the PRC to pay any attention to real interests of their own constituency.
      • Why? Its irrelevant anyway, the only way the ROC can win a military conflict with the PRC is to launch a preemptive attack on the Communist SRBM facilities. If every airfield and military harbor on the island is hit by SRBM's (there are over a thousand sitting there) it becomes a lot harder to muster an effective resistance.

    • by JohnFen (1641097)

      Actually it's a bad idea to buy it from anyone that is not 100% on your side.

      True. Also, history teaches us that today's 100% ally can easily become tomorrow's 100% enemy.

  • by ivan_w (1115485) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:01AM (#29895823) Homepage

    Does that mean that the U.S. provided *Syria* with sensitive military hardware (ok.. with built-in kill switches) ?

    If they didn't then it's not a kill switch and the U.S. simply provided their Israeli allies with electronic warfare technologies.

    It was my understanding that syrian military hardware was russian based anyway..

    So I'm not sure I understand the whole thing..

    --Ivan

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by confused one (671304)
      Sure, it's possible the Syrians have US hardware. We sell to Country x. Country x ships to Country y. Country y sells to Syria. It happens. Sometimes, that works against the U.S. and its allies. Sometime... it works for the U.S. and its allies
    • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:15AM (#29895967)
      Maybe some of the US hardware from Iran during the Shah era has flowed to Syria? That's the thing with military hardware, once you sell it to somebody, there's very little you can do to keep them from passing it to somebody else. In that context, kill switches are genius (assuming the 'enemy' doesn't hack your Gibson).
    • by Anonymous Coward

      My understanding is that they took out the NETWORK and COMPUTERS connecting all the weaponry, not the weaponry. So while the guys in the missile batteries were playing cards, or whatever, the search radar was showing cartoons, and nobody ever woke the general up with an attack warning until the bombs dropped. Lieutenants do not shoot missiles unless the general says it is OK.

  • by ctrl-alt-canc (977108) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:02AM (#29895833)

    My PC for sure has a kill switch somewhere. Now and then an odd blue screen with a funny message appears on the screen. I wonder who is operating the switch and why...

  • Riiight (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:11AM (#29895921)
    I'm not usually a fan of conspiracy theories, but "signals to turn off radar" seems more like a coverup to protect the Mossad agents who really turned off the radar. You can theoretically only use a kill signal like that once, but Mossad agents are much more versatile.
    • Also, kill switches of this sort are kinda stupid: It's intentional bugs, and intentional security by obscurity. You just hope your enemy hasn't hacked your system through the backdoor you put in.

      (Of course, this assumes you are building the hardware yourself. If you are buying it from someone, expect these to be there in case they ever decide they don't want to be your friends.)

    • Re:Riiight (Score:5, Interesting)

      by R2.0 (532027) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:31AM (#29896165)

      Here's another explanation - it's a red herring. By floating this story, you kill 2 birds:

      1) It "explains" the lack of Syrian response in a way that maintains security on the real capabilities of Israeli jamming, and

      2) It sends foreign powers on a wild goose chase, spending resources trying to root out "kill switches" that aren't there. This takes away from resources that could be spent improving the system's ability to see through jamming.

      The elegance is that it has JUST enough plausibility that it can't be ignored, due to the (now) well publicized Soviet gas pumping station sabotage.

      • Re:Riiight (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hador_nyc (903322) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:18AM (#29896905) Homepage

        supporting your argument, the CIA encouraged belief in UFO sitings to use as cover for SR-71/A-12 and U-2 flights. Mind you, and I need to say this on/., but this has nothing to do with weather or not there really are UFOs; it's just that if more people believe in then fewer will think that a jet they may see from extreme range/altitude is really a jet.

    • by sampas (256178)
      This isn't new. This happened in the US. NORAD's COBOL code was written so that US radar would go down when Soviet fighters entered a particular radar zone. Fortunately, an airplane hit the airspace and NORAD went dark. The investigation revealed a malicious COBOL programmer paid by the Soviets. I can't remember exactly where I read this, but it's in one of the references in Ross's Security Engineering book.
    • Re:Riiight (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:44AM (#29896361) Homepage Journal

      Maybe or it could just be that the US has samples of all these radar systems and found the best way to jam or overload them.
      Nothing is perfect so I am sure they have torn those system apart and found any weakness. The US then shared that information.
      Kind of like in WWII when the US found a Zero.
      They found that the Zero had a longer range, could out climb, out turn, and was faster than the F4F fighters the US had. The only thing advantage the F4F had was that it could out dive the Zero and as built like a tank.
      The one problem it had was at high speed it didn't turn well to the left. So F4Fs made diving attacks at high speed and turned left to escape. The F4F ended up with a very good kill rate when dealing with the Zero.
      If you can find a weakness and exploit it you will often win.

      • by hador_nyc (903322)

        The military continues to do these things to this day. This is why we have intelligence centers for each branch of hte military.

    • by conureman (748753)

      ...And right now, precious Syrian resources are being squandered in a futile examination of their OTHER eaquipment; Probably create a new department of homeland security or some fuck-all bureaucracy to address the issue.

    • by tibman (623933)

      Bombing a nuclear reactor seems worthwhile.. even if they only got to use that switch once, it seems worth it.

  • Dude, shut up! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jafiwam (310805)

    That dude is going to get himself killed by Mossad if he's not careful.

    What, did you think the Russians, Germans, Americans, and Chinese are going to risk facing their own stuff?

    Morons. Of COURSE there are kill switches in all the things that are sold to the third-worlders. Duh.

  • by fwr (69372) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:18AM (#29896019)
    So there's a semiconductor executive that is talking about classified information in an interview? His/Her clearance should be revoked, at least temporarily, until an investigation can be performed to determine whether any laws were broken, and how long the executive should serve.
    • by nanoakron (234907)

      Or at least until he can be tracked down and killed by Mossad/The CIA/MI6 etc...

      -Nano.

      • by RMH101 (636144)
        Unless, for example, he was asked to spout this as disinformation. It might make an intelligence agency quite happy to have eyes turned away from alternative methods to shutting these things down.
    • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @11:10AM (#29897667)
      Unfortunately, an investigation/trial might reveal more secrets than the good it would do.

      The first rule when you see classified information splash across the front page of the New York Times, it to keep your mouth shut. Running around, arresting people, only confirms that the information is true. You start a secret investigation and covertly limit the information that the people suspected of the leaks have access to. Then, when the brouhaha dies down, use special rendition to disappear the perp in the middle of the night.

      Usually when someone's clearance is revoked publicly, it's because they broke a rule, not because real secrets were reveled.
    • "...and how long the executive should serve."

      Senators serve six-year terms. If he wants to stay in longer than that, he'll need to run for re-election. Haven't you figured out how this works yet?

  • by spikesahead (111032) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:21AM (#29896057)

    In the cold war the united states did this several times to the USSR, one notable example was a gas pipeline explosion caused by a specifically sabotaged piece of software.

    Here is an article detailing the event;
    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39147917,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk]

    The USSR attempted in several instances to steal or otherwise acquire technology from the united states, and whenever this was detected our counter-intelligence services would provide flawed or otherwise sabotaged technology in place of the actual information sought. This had the desired cascading effect of the USSR unable to trust any technology that may have been introduced from non-USSR sources and was considered an extremely significant part of the eventual collapse of the USSR.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mbone (558574)

      ...was considered an extremely significant part of the eventual collapse of the USSR.

      Oh, come on. Was considered by whom, exactly ?

      I might point out that both sides stole constantly from each other, in many cases quite successfully (viz, the first Soviet fission bomb), as well as energetically developing their own technology (viz, the first Soviet fusion bomb with the "layer cake" design), and that the USSR did not implode because of external pressure.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:10PM (#29899351)

      Except that there is no evidence that any explosion took place. The whole story is based on the book of a former Reagan administration official. Go ahead and check newspaper archives at at that time, and you will find no mention of any explosion. I suppose you could claim it was covered up by the Soviets, but if it was truly a "massive" explosion, I doubt they could have achieved a complete media blackout.

      In addition, the entire story is described as a hoax here:

      http://www.bookscape.co.uk/short_stories/computer_hoaxes.php

      I think it's fair to say The Great Trans-Siberian Pipeline Computer Sabotage of 1982 is dubious at best.

  • I understand why the Chinese don't want to use Windows in their defense systems. I am sure there are back doors to encryption, and remote access, and all kinds of sneaky things that the CIA can do to anyone using Microsoft products.

    Microsoft can say , no, its fine. Without the source code, how could you trust them?

  • Backdoor (Score:3, Informative)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:23AM (#29896089) Homepage
    IEEE Spectrum properly refers to the attack on the Syrian hardware as a "back door". The New York Times not only failed to use the Hacker's Dictionary [catb.org], it failed to use the terminology from IEEE Spectrum, which it even hyperlinked to.
  • by cpu_fusion (705735) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:23AM (#29896093)

    Turning off your enemies defenses is one thing, but what about when stuff like this is used to make the enemy seem to be on the offensive?

  • by njfuzzy (734116)
    Oddly, I'm not sure I have a problem with this. It seems obvious that you shouldn't buy military resources from the allies of your enemies. If you can't make bigger friends, don't get in the fight.
    • by RMH101 (636144)
      It's working pretty damn well for the Taliban, with their US-made Stingers...
  • by renoX (11677) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:27AM (#29896123)

    A kill switch needs external communication to be activated which can be quite impossible to implement in many case but radars are basically radio receivers so a specific sequence of radio impulsion at a given frequency could activate the kill switch..
    Interesting.

  • In Gerrold's Chtorr series, they used this. A lot of US military tech was in the hands of rebels, and they just deployed a kill switch. But in the book, it was expressed as a last-ditch measure. Once you use it, everyone knows about it, and you lose the advantage. Suddenly all the US allies were very, very concerned, as they began to wonder what US technology wasn't booby trapped.

    I'd be really surprised we'd just hand this over to the Israelis if we had it. I'd think we would be saving this for a major

  • Perhaps they should run McAfee to prevent this trojan? Then again, perhaps they don't want their defense systems to run slower than a snail that has taken an elephant tranquilizer.
  • This idea isn't new. "Serious" science fiction since the 1950s has considered the more complex vulnerabilities of more complex systems, specifically including false takeover of control (Colossus and WarGames), malicious Trojan horses (Battlestar), and false triggering of safety/self-destruct signals (Keith Laumer's Bolo stories) (and yes, I know some of those examples aren't the highest quality, but they're well known). The only disappointment in this article is the apparent surprise expressed.
  • I've obtained the secret code used to disable the radar systems:

    1-6-3-0-9

  • If I were to have an "electronic intelligence agency" I would call it "Unit 2600".
  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:14AM (#29896807)
    How do Israelis manage to build in kill switches on technology developed in Russia and provided to Syria through Iran? That would involve some deep penetration, which I doubt even the Israelis can do. The Russian did pretty much invent counterespionage, after all.
  • James Mowrey?

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins

Working...