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Stuxnet Still Out of Control At Iran Nuclear Sites 361

Posted by timothy
from the wee-bit-of-a-disaster dept.
Velcroman1 writes "Iran's nuclear program is still in chaos despite its leaders' adamant claim that they have contained the computer worm that attacked their facilities, cybersecurity experts in the US and Europe say. Last week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after months of denials, admitted that the worm had penetrated Iran's nuclear sites, but he said it was detected and controlled. The second part of that claim, experts say, doesn't ring true. Owners of several security sites have discovered huge bumps in traffic from Iran, as the country tries to deal with Stuxnet. 'Our traffic from Iran has really spiked,' said a corporate officer who asked that neither he nor his company be named. 'Iran now represents 14.9 percent of total traffic, surpassing the United States with a total of 12.1 percent.'"
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Stuxnet Still Out of Control At Iran Nuclear Sites

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 09, 2010 @07:51PM (#34508584)

    ...patch Tuesday is coming. ;)

    • Iran... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pilgrim23 (716938) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:05PM (#34508728)
      Ahmadinejad's speech needs to be heard from the perspective of knowing something of Persian culture. We tend to think we understand people by what they say and in this case and, frankly in most cases we do not when Iranians speak. For example: If someone dies, it is considered not polite to just say "Shogi is dead". You break it gradually. So on the first inquiry, "Shogi is feeling unwell" is the reply, then, "Shogi took a turn for the worse" , then "Shogi has passed". Also, it is considered dishonorable for a man to admit ignorance. This makes it very hard to teach new ideas in Iran. Speak to a Persian and you are met with "Yes Yes, this I know, next thing please" The Persian culture is actually a very beautiful thing full of warm people, but they are NOT American People. They are a seperate culture. when Ahmadinejad announces ____ fill blank. we believe him, Persians think "there goes Dinner Jacket again.."
      • Re: Iran... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Threni (635302) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:15PM (#34508834)

        > Also, it is considered dishonorable for a man to admit ignorance.

        So how do you explain that fucking bearded cunt in a suit saying stuff like `the holocaust didn't happen` and `we have no homosexuals in Iran`?

        • Re: Iran... (Score:5, Informative)

          by pilgrim23 (716938) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:21PM (#34508924)
          I do not, I do as many Persians do and ignore him. Most there believe they have no voice anyway (see last election).
          • by Pharmboy (216950)

            I feel for you, I really do, to have such a rich culture taken over by an ideology. As terribly flaws as we Americans are, perhaps there are two things you can learn from us: 1. It is ok to admit you don't know something, as that is how you learn more. 2. When a government is oppressing its citizens, it should be removed by any and all means necessary to accomplish the task.

            I am hoping the US does not get involved directly in a war with Iran. I also wish the citizens would find a way to take control their

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by lul_wat (1623489)
              Maybe if Britain and the USA didn't start this mess by overthrowing a democratically elected Iranian government in 1953 there wouldn't be a problem regarding the oppresion of citizens. If you have a time machine let me know.
              • by mangu (126918) on Friday December 10, 2010 @08:12AM (#34512922)

                I don't know why every time someone mentions Mossadegh he is moderated insightful. You don't need a time machine, just try to inform yourself better instead of repeating old political propaganda from the Soviet Union.

                First of all, Mossadegh wasn't really that democratic at all. For instance, Wikipedia says "Realizing that the opposition would take the vast majority of the provincial seats, Mosaddegh stopped the voting as soon as 79 deputies just enough to form a parliamentary quorum had been elected."

                Second, Iran was in deep economic trouble from the oil industry nationalization under Mossadegh. With or without CIA intervention, he was doomed to fall sooner or later.

                Finally, if the CIA were able to manipulate foreign governments that well, they should get better results. If they succeeded in overthrowing Mossadegh then why are they unable to overthrow the Islamic government of Iran?

              • Divide a cake by zero. Is it still a cake?

                A cake divided by zero is an infinite cake. If you can find a way to divide a cake by zero, well, CAKE FOR EVERYBODY!

        • Re: Iran... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jeremi (14640) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @10:57PM (#34510458) Homepage

          So how do you explain that fucking bearded cunt in a suit saying stuff like `the holocaust didn't happen` and `we have no homosexuals in Iran`?

          He's saying things his constituents want to hear, just like other fucking cunts say things like "we don't torture" or "the US government does not spy on American citizens without a warrant". In both cases it's not ignorance, it's deliberate deception.

          • No, like almost all politicians, he is saying what those in power who supported his election want him to say. The constituents (voters/citizens) are usually just pawns in a system that is for the most part rigged (like here in the good old U.S. of A. - perhaps not quite as rigged as Iran, but rigged none the less).

            But you are absolutely right in that it is deliberate deception. If he even wanted to tell the truth he would not remain in office long. Anyone who rises to his level already knows what he is

          • Re: Iran... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by lewko (195646) on Friday December 10, 2010 @07:54AM (#34512834) Homepage

            When he says 'let's nuke Israel and kill another six million Jews', I don't see how you can compare that to even the worst thing a Western politician has EVER said.

            And if that's truly what his constituents want to hear, then they too deserve everything they get.

        • by formfeed (703859)

          So how do you explain
          [...] the holocaust didn't happen

          "I don't wanna hear about the holocaust anymore"

          we have no homosexuals in Iran

          "Men holding hands and kissing are not homosexuals."

        • Simple same as the American's have LONG denied the holocaust against the natives and the concentration camps for Americans whose ancestors came from Japan. Or that those who wrote "All men are equal" really meant "White MEN, with sufficient standing, that we approve off, are equal, somewhat".

          Being a cunt is not restricted to beard faces.

          And really, does the US have any right to talk about the treatment of homosexuals? The republican cunts are now blocking reform of the "Do not ask, do not tell" policy unt

          • by gtall (79522)

            The U.S. has long admitted the "concentration" camps if by that you mean concentration camps light rather than what the Nazies were engaged in.

            The U.S. also fought a bloody civil war over slavery, a million people lost their lives in it. You may have heard of it. At the Constitutional Convention, there were anti-slavery folks. Eventually, they compromised and produced a constitution that America eventually grew into.

            Now, let's take a list of Muslim countries where respect for minority rights is built into t

      • by wmbetts (1306001)

        They also need to understand words have meaning. It's fine and well that they can say one thing and mean something else, but they need to understand the rest of the world will judge them on what they say and do not what they thought they implied.

      • Re: Iran... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Frogbert (589961) <frogbertNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday December 10, 2010 @02:42AM (#34511552)

        Another example:
        People also get confused with chants like "Death to America" which isn't as extreme as it sounds once translated. For example a Persian stuck in heavy traffic is often heard to say "Death to Traffic".

        • Re: Iran... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by kestasjk (933987) * on Friday December 10, 2010 @08:07AM (#34512896) Homepage
          Does that Persian then go out and burn tokens which represent traffic in a street rally?
          Do Persian public representatives chant "death to traffic" in unison as the first order of business after getting power?
          Is being beaten to death by mounted police / getting stoned to death a bizarre pastime for Persian women?
          Are covert uranium enrichment facilities just another wacky Iranian cultural quirk?
        • Re: Iran... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mangu (126918) on Friday December 10, 2010 @08:20AM (#34512980)

          People also get confused with chants like "Death to America" which isn't as extreme as it sounds once translated.

          Yeah, right. The GP said If someone dies, it is considered not polite to just say "Shogi is dead". Yet you say "Death to America" is not that bad. WTF?

          If your language is so incoherent, then it's your duty to take better care how you speak.

           

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 09, 2010 @07:56PM (#34508648)

    Unlike those kids at Anonymous, the perpetrators of stuxnet are showing who are the real hacktivists.

    Targeted precise strike on Iran's nuclear capabilities, this is a bigger win for freedom and security in the free world and anything wikileaks or their supporters could dream of doing.

    I commend these hackers for slowing down the evil Iranian government's nuclear ambitions.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 09, 2010 @07:59PM (#34508676)

      These weren't 'hacktivists'. These were government employed/contracted hackers.

    • by wampus (1932) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @07:59PM (#34508678)

      Yes indeed. Go team Mossad.

      • by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:08PM (#34508760)

        Your glee might be tempered a bit when this thing gets propagated to Europe, North America, and the rest of the world.

        It seems just as likely that the guys running Turbines for your local power company are no better equipped to handle this than Iran. In Iran, they have unlimited budget and first call upon the best brains in the country.

        Your local power company? Not so much.

        Viruses and worms seem unlikely to honor boundaries forever. At least a surprise bombing run on a reactor in Iran is unlikely to hit Con-Edison in NY.

        • by TheKidWho (705796)

          You're assuming the virus works in the USA/Europe?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by icebike (68054)

            If it didn't when sent, it will upon return.

            • by TheKidWho (705796)

              What makes you so sure about that? A computer virus could discriminate just as much as a real biological virus yah know.

              • by icebike (68054)

                And when the Iranians finally figure out how it works and revise it and send it back to us it will be VERY Discriminating.

                • by TheKidWho (705796)

                  Sure, it's as simple as downloading the source code and modifying it.

                  I'm sure the designers of stuxnet never thought of that.

          • Other than Siemens controllers being less common in the US, why wouldn't it?
            • by TheKidWho (705796)

              It hasn't hit the USA or Europe so far and it's been out for quite a while. As for why, this clearly is the work of Western national cyber warfare agencies, I don't think they would want to cause havoc amongst their own citizens.

              • http://www.zdnetasia.com/stuxnet-infections-continue-to-rise-62201930.htm [zdnetasia.com]

                There are infections in Step 7 showing up at what I'm guessing are either automation companies or companies with big in house automation support, given that they are known to Siemens.

                • by TheKidWho (705796)

                  And what exactly has it done to those systems? Nothing? Right.

                  • It is using them to propagate, which is more than nothing.

                    It isn't breaking any hardware given its enormously specific payload, but that can be remotely updated.

              • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @11:26PM (#34510634) Homepage Journal

                Clearly? How do you know it wasn't Saudi warfare? They've got the money, plenty of smart people (especially in reverse engineering, which is useful in spec'ing from a snatched or bought sample centrifuge), and are Iran's primary foe in the world. They've been trying to get the US to bomb Iran for years, and are the primary target of an Iranian nuke programme.

                How do you know it wasn't Russian marketing? The more Iran wastes uranium, the more Iran needs Russia. The longer it takes to get a fuel stockpile, the longer Iran needs Russia. Plus Russia isn't entirely evil, and is itself an old and longstanding enemy of Iran in more ways than it is an ally, and could just be defending itself from Iran's nuke programme. Likewise China.

                Those are three very plausible sources of Stuxnet. And they're all increasingly Eastern, including the ultimate Eastern of all - not Western.

                Iran is a very dangerous and isolated state. It's got lots of enemies with the means and motive to unleash Stuxnet. The question is which had the opportunity, which I expect we will never know, as Iran's windows of vulnerability in this respect are some of the most closely guarded secrets ever.

        • by wampus (1932)

          That was sarcasm. I am not a fan of either of the parties here.

        • by Mysteray (713473)

          It seems just as likely that the guys running Turbines for your local power company are no better equipped to handle this than Iran. In Iran, they have unlimited budget and first call upon the best brains in the country. Your local power company? Not so much.

          I dunno man.

          I'd put my local power company up against those "Your nuclear power plant control software license has expired please obtain a valid license [upi.com]" clowns any day.

          The local guys may be clowns too. But the difference is that my clowns can at l

        • Your glee might be tempered a bit when this thing gets propagated to Europe, North America, and the rest of the world.

          It already has: it was first detected outside Iran. It does no significant damage outside the correct environment. Stuxnet [wikipedia.org]

          It seems just as likely that the guys running Turbines for your local power company are no better equipped to handle this than Iran.

          The guys at my local power company can request (and receive) assistance from Siemens, Microsoft, the US Government... Iran? Not s

        • by headhot (137860) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @09:13PM (#34509548) Homepage

          The attack was very specific. Uranium enrichment requires and exact rpm over a long period of time. Most industrial equipment does not have that exacting level of tolerance needed.

          • by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @09:20PM (#34509620)

            Enrichment does not require EXACT rpm. Its a centrifuge, nothing more.

            Thousands of industrial applications require exact speed (far greater exactness than a centrifuge). Electrical Generators, Paper machines, rolling mills, sewage pumps, blower motors, automated bottling lines, automated assembly lines of all kinds.

            Try not to make assertions your experience will not back up.

            • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @10:21PM (#34510192) Homepage

              It's unlikely that any of the machines you list require the exact speeds that Stuxnet is programmed for (even other uranium enrichment centrifuges are unlikely to operate at exactly the same speeds). And yes, enrichment centrifuges do require precise speed control, though it is true that many other machines also do.

              • by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @10:37PM (#34510302)

                No, enrichment machines to not require precise speed.
                You made that up. Post a link or retract it.

                All it requires is high speed for a sustained periods. Precision is not a criteria. It doesn't matter whether it is 2000 rpm for 5 days or 2100 rpm for 5 days and 18 hours. There are no precision requirements for centrifuges. Its a trade off between the number of Gs you can induce over a period of time. There is no special precision requirement.

                Its not like a paper machine where if one of the drying drums goes .002 rpms faster than the rest the web of wet paper breaks and the machine is useless.

                Centrifuges are big machines, and you have to spin them up carefully using a stepped speed profile while getting up to speed or coming to a stop.

                The worm simply radically alters the speed in unpredictable ways, spinning them up, then dropping to very low speeds, very quickly the jacking them up again. Doing this very fast breaks the machines. The worm's job is to break the machines.

                The worm is not trying to alter the product. Its trying to break the machines. Do some reading on this subject, PLEASE.

        • by AB3A (192265) on Friday December 10, 2010 @10:26AM (#34513748) Homepage Journal

          "Your glee might be tempered a bit when this thing gets propagated to Europe, North America, and the rest of the world.

          "It seems just as likely that the guys running Turbines for your local power company are no better equipped to handle this than Iran. In Iran, they have unlimited budget and first call upon the best brains in the country."

          It already has. It doesn't matter.

          Stuxnet was VERY selective. It targeted only the S7 315 and 417 Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC). It looked for specific code blocks and data structures on those devices. You need to know that PLC applications code is usually custom written. It looked at the I/O networks and tried to find at least 33 instances of one of two models of a high speed motor drive. These are not ordinary Variable Frequency Drives. Had they come from the US, they'd be subject to export restrictions. The ones in use came from Finland and were also constructed locally in Iran.

          Speaking as a control systems engineer, I don't know of any other massively parallel processes that involve many dozens (hundreds?) of high speed drives like this --other than Uranium enrichment. That's why the risk to other plants, including the Bushir nuclear reactor, are relatively small. The malware will install itself in the development workstations but it won't do much.

          This is a good thing because had the malware been less selective, it would have done pretty much what you suggest. Most of you probably have little idea as to the extent and ubiquity of these PLC devices. The S7 PLC line is extremely popular and you'll find one in nearly half of all industrial settings around the world. If there were a malware that blindly attacked these devices, the world economy as we know it would take a massive change for the worse.

          THAT is why nobody has done a broad based attack against PLC gear before. It will blow back on them. Once you realize what a PLC is and how widely it is used, you will also realize that an attack against this platform is the equivalent of a nuclear attack in the software world. In the case of a PC you only lose data. Most data can be restored. In this case, you lose an industrial process and it may be significantly damaged. An attack will almost certainly blow back on you and your neighbors. It will make the economic malaise of the present look tame by comparison.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      >Targeted precise strike on Iran's nuclear capabilities, this is a bigger win for freedom and security in the free world and anything wikileaks or their supporters could dream of doing.

      More like cripple them so the US with the approval of other Arab countries like Saudi would go in and start another war for extra few years of oil supply.

    • by quokkaZ (1780340) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @10:43PM (#34510348)

      The whole piece is based on a Fox News article. That by definition makes it unreliable. Quoting anonymous "security experts" is worthless and just citing the number of users signing on to Stuxnet security sites is hardly any better. I don't know if the Iranians have this thing under control or not and in all likelihood neither does Fox News.

      While you luxuriate in your little cocoon of ideologically induced ignorance, others might like to consider some of the facts:

      1. Iran as a signatory to the NPT has a right to run nuclear power plants. Even Hilary Clinton doesn't object to the Bashehr facility.

      2. Bushehr facility is a Russian VVER pressurized water reactor. Russia is supplying the fuel and taking away the spent fuel. PWRs are very unsuited to producing weapons grade material. They must be shutdown for refueling. To produce PU239 uncontaminated with significant PU240, which is for all practical purposes inseparable from PU239, you need a short fuel cycle. The frequent lengthly shutdowns makes this an infeasible proposition. PU239 contaminated with significant amounts of PU240 is just not much use for weapons - it would fry the bomb makers with significant risk of premature detonation.

      3. Iran certainly has an uranium enrichment program and this would give them a "break out capability" but whether Iran is actually producing or about to produce nuclear weapons is another matter entirely and not supported by any substantive evidence.

      4. Whether Iran's nuclear program is "evil" is at most a matter of opinion. However, what would be construed as evil by most thinking people is the installation of the Shah by the CIA at the behest of British oil interests with the support of the British government. Rather unsurprisingly, nations tend to know their own history and mostly do believe in their right to self determination. Viewed against this historical backdrop, the most likely factor in triggering an Iranian weapons program would be a continuing and ramped up aggressive posture by the United States.

      • by kestasjk (933987) *

        1. Iran as a signatory to the NPT has a right to run nuclear power plants. Even Hilary Clinton doesn't object to the Bashehr facility.

        Their covert enrichment facilities violated the treaty, so the treaty is void. (The west doesn't oppose the Bashehr facility because it's harmless civilian power, just what Iran says it wants.)

        If signing the NPT meant you could enrich uranium using centrifuges from Pakistani arms dealers with no-one knowing it would be pretty pointless; it is designed to allow the peaceful use of nuclear power with enough checks and balances to prevent it being put to use creating weapons.

        2. Bushehr facility is a Russian VVER pressurized water reactor. Russia is supplying the fuel and taking away the spent fuel.

        Yup.. It makes you wonder why Ir

    • ... this is a bigger win for freedom and security in the free world and anything wikileaks or their supporters could dream of doing.

      You know, as far as brainless and brainwashed idiots go, you are near the top. "Freedom"?! What fucking freedom is improved by this?! Whose?! Israeli supremacist thugs to dick around the region unopposed?! "Freedom" of US military cartels to send their mercenaries to run over Iran and murder millions?! What the fuck are you, delusional fool, blabbering about?!

      And no, do not e

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @07:58PM (#34508672) Homepage

    I think this attack just shows the difference that good engineering can make. Most worms out there are relatively unsophisticated, or are developed by people with limited means to pull off quick scams.

    Stuxnet shows what a truly determined adversary can do. One who knows your internal processes. One who understands your industry-specific software - the stuff nobody outside the industry ever touches. One who has a large team of talented programmers, carefully designing and building the attack. One who has access to government resources - the ability to tap communications lines, inject traffic, etc. One who is funded strategically - they don't want to hold your business for ransom for $1M, they want your $100B company to collapse so that one they favor can take over, or whatever.

    The software out there that runs on intranets around the world is some of the most insecure stuff you'll ever see. It rarely gets subjected to serious attack, and the vulnerabilities aren't evident to the average corporate IT guy who is just doing basic due-diligence. Your average PHB doesn't want to pay for testing that will actually uncover serious flaws - they want the system to look good to their customers and have the right bells and whistles - and pricetag.

    We'll see more of these attacks in the future - count on it...

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Most virus writers have little or no cost of failure, aside from the time invested. If the virus isn't as successful as they'd like, they just write another one.

      The whole point of this attack was (or seems to be) in launching a specific attack against a target where, if you fail, they will succeed in creating weapons to annihilate you. There are no do-overs. Once the target is aware of his vulnerabilities, he will likely close them forever, and the time to find another vulnerability (if one even exists)

    • by syousef (465911) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:45PM (#34509206) Journal

      One who has a large team of talented programmers, carefully designing and building the attack.

      http://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/enterprise/media/security_response/whitepapers/w32_stuxnet_dossier.pdf [symantec.com]

      Symantec speculates a team size around 5-10 not including QA (whatever the heck that means).

      Personally I think there is probably a "team" of 1-3 people sniggering to and congratulating themselves. (Probably adding "Stupid Americans"). That is if they haven't been shot.

      I'll give you talented, though.

      • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:55PM (#34509316)

        "Personally I think there is probably a "team" of 1-3 people sniggering to and congratulating themselves. "

        No, I don't think this is the kid sitting at home ala "War Games," and here is why (from the article):

        And Iran's anti-worm effort may have had another setback. In Tehran, men on motorcycles attacked two leading nuclear scientists on their way to work. Using magnetic bombs, the motorcyclists pulled alongside their cars and attached the devices.
        One scientist was wounded and the other killed. Confirmed reports say that the murdered scientist was in charge of dealing with the Stuxnet virus at the nuclear plants.

        Wow, you know they're serious when the cyberattack is coordinated with targeted assassinations.

      • by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @09:47PM (#34509900) Homepage

        Symantec speculates a team size around 5-10 not including QA (whatever the heck that means).

        Uh, good thing that programmers don't need QA or managers, and so on.

        And yes, QA matters for an operation like this. You're probably having spies plant the bug, and they could get killed in the process. You don't risk spies on code that isn't tested.

        Likewise, a fizzled attempt will likely trigger countermeasures making a future attack more difficult.

        QA means getting it right the first time. That probably means creating a simulated environment and testing the software out in this environment. Sure, you don't need actual centrifuges and turbines, but you probably need software that emulates the feedback such machines would return to their controllers. I'm sure they didn't factor that into their "5-10" count.

        I've worked on some IT projects where quality was serious business, and you can easily spend as much on testing as you spend on development. For a typical military-style coding effort factor in a WHOLE lot more.

      • by AB3A (192265)

        If Stuxnet was indeed targeted at the Uranium Enrichment facility in Natanz, it would have taken exactly what the Symantec paper suggested.

        You think talent alone is all it takes?

        You would need process engineers with at least an understanding of how gas centrifuges work and who know how to set the couple hundred registers for a high speed VFD --one of which was designed and built in Iran; and two models of PLC gear. You'd need network specialists to collect information from the target (there was an Italian f

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Stuxnet shows what a truly determined adversary can do. One who knows your internal processes. One who understands your industry-specific software - the stuff nobody outside the industry ever touches. One who has a large team of talented programmers, carefully designing and building the attack.

      You make not only an interesting point but an allusion (perhaps indirectly) that may counter all those folks saying "what happens if it comes back". I personally wonder what Siemens' role in this was. As the description says, the virus specifically targeted a vulnerability in the Siemens software Iran was using on their centrifuges. That software is known to have been pirated, so it will not be updated. It is logical to assume that A) Stuxnet cannot affect licensed, updated versions of the Siemens softw

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Yup. I tend to agree. No guarantees that they were involved, but they could have cooperated with efforts (providing source code, helping analysts understand potential vulnerabilities, witholding patches, etc).

        I'm sure that the usual NATO allies were all on board - certainly the nation where Siemens was headquartered and the US OKed the attack. Companies don't just do business with the Mossad or whatever without making sure their parent governments are OK with it.

        The US triggered a massive refinery disast

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DoninIN (115418)

      I think this attack just shows the difference that good engineering can make. Most worms out there are relatively unsophisticated, or are developed by people with limited means to pull off quick scams.

      Stuxnet shows what a truly determined adversary can do. One who knows your internal processes. One who understands your industry-specific software - the stuff nobody outside the industry ever touches. One who has a large team of talented programmers, carefully designing and building the attack. One who has access to government resources - the ability to tap communications lines, inject traffic, etc. One who is funded strategically - they don't want to hold your business for ransom for $1M, they want your $100B company to collapse so that one they favor can take over, or whatever.

      The software out there that runs on intranets around the world is some of the most insecure stuff you'll ever see. It rarely gets subjected to serious attack, and the vulnerabilities aren't evident to the average corporate IT guy who is just doing basic due-diligence. Your average PHB doesn't want to pay for testing that will actually uncover serious flaws - they want the system to look good to their customers and have the right bells and whistles - and pricetag.

      We'll see more of these attacks in the future - count on it...

      This, is why stuff that is important should NOT be connected to the internet. OR allowed to come into contact with jump drives or PCs or anything else that has been exposed to the internet. This is simple. This is stupid. This seems like an old guy railing about the dangers of new technology. This is absolutely true, and will continue to be true. Further examples will be provided by reality for the remainder of your lives. I will continue to be right. This advice will continue to be ignored because it is in

    • by suv4x4 (956391)

      Stuxnet shows what a truly determined adversary can do. One who knows your internal processes.

      Gee, I wonder who would that be. *cough* IAEA *cough*

      They tried but found nothing to show Iran is enriching fuel for military purposes. But they got all info they needed to commission the development of a sophisticated, precisely targeted worm...

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:08PM (#34508758) Homepage

    a) Everybody in Iran with a Stuxnet-infected computer is going to be trying desperately to get rid of it and everybody in Iran with a computer that they even suspect may be infected with anything is going to be trying to read up on Stuxnet. They are not going to believe that it won't harm their systems. They are going to believe that every little glitch might be Stuxnet come to steal their secrets (whether they have any or not).

    b) If most of the Iranian traffic to these sites was coming from people at the the Iranian nuclear facilities studying Stuxnet there would be very little of it because there would not be all that many people assigned to such research.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:16PM (#34508854)
    Iran obviously hasn't had experience fixing their in-laws computers and are actually wasting their time trying to save their familly photos. FORMAT!
  • by Simonetta (207550) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:35PM (#34509082)

    The columnist who writes for Asia Times On-line (www.atimes.com) under the name Spengler foresaw this situation last year. He noted that 95+% off the software that was being used in Iran was 'pirate-ware' from the West. He noted that there was an Iranian government-run file download site that held hundreds of popular Western software packages along with their kraks, passwords, and keygens. He predicted that this would allow viruses to run amok throughout Iran at some point in the future.

        He also quotes a BBC reporter who states that almost nobody except government officials and their goon squads (and old ladies, of course) still believes in fundamental Islam in Iran. She (the BBC reporter) says that only about 2% of the population regularly go to Friday services at the mosques in Iran. And over 5% of Iranians are addicted to cheap Afghanistan heroin, the highest addiction rate in the world. Unemployment among the young is in reality over 50%. She says that Iran currently resembles the Soviet Union in the late 1980's; it's a country that will just fall apart in the next ten years if the rest of the world just leaves them alone and lets it happen.

        At the time of the revolution in 1978, Iran's population was about 27 million (I remember the number quoted as 50 million at the time) and now it is over 70 million: a direct result of Khomeini's exortation for young people to -'get a-fuckin'- (in a manner of speaking) and make lots of babies. When Khomeini died that policy died also, and Iran launched a massive birth-control program. Now, the children of the revolution are having almost no babies and the birth-rate in Iran is 1.6 children per couple; one of the lowest in the world. But their remains this huge bulge in the population demographic there; all the people born in the 1980's.

        They call themselves 'the burnt generation'.

        If any of this is true then we shouldn't worry too much about Iran. We should never actually believe anything that they say. And we should, on an individual-to-individual basis, offer whatever assistance that we can. Nevertheless, I would recommend NOT offering any detailed technical assistance to people in Iran on any specific technological project over the web until the Iranian government stops all this 'Death To America' nonsense as offical government policy.

        Thank you.

  • Nucular, really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by olden (772043) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:42PM (#34509172)

    So Stuxnet chatter is still observed around the planet, including in Iran and the US. Duh.

    Now how exactly does this "expert" come to the conclusion that, somehow, activity from the US etc must be from infected home PCs, yet the same from Iran must be from some seekret uranium enrichment plant, which typically wound not be connected to the internet?

    Oh, my bad, forgot, this comes from ScareTV... Never mind.

  • I thought the hosts that Stuxnet was targeted at weren't connected to the internet at all, meaning the surge in traffic can only be coming from collateral damage infected hosts. Meaning it is spreading but not really damaging anything.
    • The theory is that the machines were infected via thumb drives. The traffic is supposed to be coming from thousands of Iranian "nuclear scientists" sitting in internet cafes desperately searching for a solution to their Stuxnet problem.

  • ...not likely but that would be hilarious,

  • When I'm a leader of a rogue state, I will not connect the control systems of my super-secret nuclear facility to any external network.

  • I sort of find it entertaining that the US government appears to be happy for Microsoft to export Windows to Iran so that it can be used in their nuclear industry.

    But at the same time companies like Amazon, Mastercard, Visa and PayPal are so scared of Wikileaks (and/or the US government's reaction to their commercial relation to Wikileaks) that they're pulling their commercial ties as soon as possible.

    Of course, as soon as they switch to Linux, I assume it (and open source) will painted as the evil, terrori

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