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The Military Worms Technology

Iran Admits Stuxnet Affected Their Nuclear Program 211

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-mailed-their-reactors-to-a-nigerian-prince dept.
plover writes "According to this article in the Guardian, 'Ahmadinejad admitted the [Stuxnet] worm had affected Iran's uranium enrichment. "They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts," the president said. "They did a bad thing. Fortunately our experts discovered that, and today they are not able [to do that] anymore."'"
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Iran Admits Stuxnet Affected Their Nuclear Program

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  • I heard about this earlier today and started wondering if Stuxnet is perhaps the first virus of its kind -- is this this the first time a successful virus has been created to attack a specific target?

    And since it worked, will we see similar viruses in the future?

    • by plover (150551) * on Monday November 29, 2010 @07:53PM (#34382552) Homepage Journal

      1. No, it's not the first. The 2010 Verizon Data Breach Report [verizonbusiness.com] shows that 54% of successful attacks using malware used customized or custom-written malware, and that 97% of the data records stolen were done so with the use of custom malware.

      2. Yes, we're going to see a lot of it. It's already begun [langner.com], according the the engineer who dissected the industrial control code that stuxnet injected.

    • by windcask (1795642)

      is this this the first time a successful virus has been created to attack a specific target?

      /me takes time machine to college dorm in 1987

      /me grabs floppy and makes batch file with "@echo off / Format C: /s" in it, and names it something auspicious

      /me replaces roommate's copy of "King's Quest" with malicious disk

      /me giggles like an idiot when roommate wipes hard drive inadvertently

      Short answer: nope.

  • "They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts. They did a bad thing. Fortunately our experts discovered that, and today they are not able to do that anymore."

    Is this an artifact of translation, or a side effect of trying to say as little as possible about classified research while still forming complete sentences?

    "We cannot put the broken part in the machine. It would not smash the right tiny things together. Then the ma

    • by plover (150551) * on Monday November 29, 2010 @08:23PM (#34382838) Homepage Journal

      I was very surprised that he admitted it, at first. A rational leader would never confirm an attack like this that couldn't externally be proven.

      But then I remembered this guy is from a different world, and isn't talking to us. He's a kleptocrat who stays in power by painting the image of a religious strongman, and talks to his ignorant power-base making it sound like his scientists gloriously smashed the meaningless virus as they would a Western fly.

      So I don't know if this child-like line is a simplification made by the translator (who might have difficulty with technical language) or if this is how he normally talks to his people?

    • today they are not able to do that anymore
       
      Oh well, moving on to Plan B [guardian.co.uk]

  • A Bad Thing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday November 29, 2010 @07:55PM (#34382562)

    Baby did a bad bad thing, baby did a bad bad thing.
    Baby did a bad bad thing, baby did a bad bad thing.

    You ever want a nuke so much you thought your little centrifuge was gonna break in two?
    I didn't think so.
    You ever tried with all your heart and soul to get your uranium back to you?
    I wanna hope so.
    You ever pray with all your heart and soul just to watch it spin away?

    Baby did a bad bad thing, baby did a bad bad thing.
    Baby did a bad bad thing, feel like crying, feel like crying.

    You ever toss and turn your lying awake and thinking about the yellow cake you love?
    I don't think so.
    You ever close your eyes your making believe your holding the nuke your dreaming of?
    Well if you say so.
    I hurts so bad when you finally know just how low, low, low, low, low, Israel'll go.

    Baby did a bad bad thing, baby did a bad bad thing.
    Baby did a bad bad thing, feel like crying, feel like crying.

    Ohh. Feel like crying, feel like crying.
    Ohh, feel like crying, feel like crying.

    Baby did a bad bad thing, baby did a bad bad thing.

    • by pinkj (521155)
      This is probably the first time -- and last time -- a Chris Isaak song is used for an Iranian nuclear program parody.
  • by khallow (566160) on Monday November 29, 2010 @10:17PM (#34383704)
    Two weeks ago, people talked about the diplomatic problems this worm attack would cause for Israel. There was even a few people that didn't think Iran was trying to make a nuclear bomb. What a difference two weeks makes. It turns out (from the Wikileaks release a couple of days ago) that the entire Middle East (except for the usual suspects like Hamas and Hezbollah) thinks Iran's nuclear bomb program is far more worrisome than Israel. The King of Saudi Arabia asked the US in April 2008 for military strikes against Iran's nuclear program. The UAE stated in the beginning of 2010 that it is expecting some sort of war involving the US or Israel against Iran.

    From an analysis of the Stuxnet worm, it turns out to target a frequency converter made by a Iranian company that the Iranians kept secret from the IAEA. That's the agency which is supposed to be inspecting Iran's nuclear facilities and which should have been informed of this technology.

    Finally, we have assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. If you think putting a worm into a uranium enrichment plant is diplomatically upsetting how about killing people? Also, there's a lot more players who can kill people than who can write sophisticated worms that only target particular systems.

    I think this is going beyond diplomacy. A lot of governments agree that Iran is working on a nuclear bomb. The clever finesse moves, such as fancy computer worms, are probably exhausted. Trade blockades probably won't work (especially with China having special deals with Iran). But what will still work is destruction of the facilities and killing of the staff who work there. To be blunt, I favor this approach.

    My view however is that Obama won't do it. That means then that we'll have a nuclear Iran, then nuclear Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Even if you don't give a hoot about the Middle East, it'll worry Europe and Turkey. I see expansion of nuclear forces in the EU as a distinct possibility. Turkey is one of many tricky spots. Russia will freak out if Turkey gets nukes. But how will Turkey defend itself, if a major war with a nuclear armed Iran occurs?

    This is the thing that people don't get about proliferation of nuclear weapons. The fewer countries that have nuclear weapons, the easier they are to control. Conversely, once a dangerous country like Iran gets them, then all of their neighbors are going to want them as well for self-defense. Israel has been nuclear armed for perhaps forty years, but the Middle East is worried about Iran.
    • You forget that Turkey is a NATO member and falls under the US/UK/France nuclear umbrella. Turkey doesn't need nukes. Supposedly the US had missles based in Turkey (aimed at the USSR) that were removed as part of a secret deal ending the Cuban Missile Crisis. But the nuclear umbrella stays as part of NATO.

      -molo

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      Actually, it was obvious from Iran's action on these centrifuges what Iran's intentions were. The worm is designed to 'fuzz' the results of fuge run. With the fuge's running correctly, then you would have great separation between the various isotopes. With the virus, it does not separate them cleanly. So, the material is perfectly fine for running in ANY nuclear reactor including Iran's. The fact that they required better separation can only mean one thing: they are building bombs.

      What is even more inter
      • by iammani (1392285)

        Wow, you seriously believe Iran cares about Slashdot?

        • Iran is astroturfing EVERYWHERE. This is no different than what China or MS did.

          Yes, Iran DOES care. They want politicians in democracy to drop our guards and forget about them. In fact, the leaders in Iran NEED that.

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