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Stuxnet Virus Set Back Iran’s Nuclear Program by 2 Years 349

Posted by samzenpus
from the minor-setback dept.
masterwit writes "The Jpost article states: 'The Stuxnet virus, which has attacked Iran's nuclear facilities and which Israel is suspected of creating, has set back the Islamic Republic's nuclear program by two years, a top German computer consultant who was one of the first experts to analyze the program's code told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. Widespread speculation has named Israel's Military Intelligence Unit 8200, known for its advanced Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities, as the possible creator of the software, as well as the United States.'"
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Stuxnet Virus Set Back Iran’s Nuclear Program by 2 Years

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  • Success (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:36PM (#34570028) Homepage Journal

    Guess what? We're going to be seeing this sort of thing a whole lot more. Compare the expense and risk involved in writing this virus versus firing off cruise missiles or sending planes on bombing missions or an actual ground invasion.

    And to beat it all, no-one even knows who was actually responsible for this. Oh yes, the future of modern warfare and sabotage is most certainly here.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:44PM (#34570082)
    Just asking.
  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:47PM (#34570088)

    The Iranians build bombs to destroy people. Their enemies work to to destroy Iran's capability to build bombs.

    It's one big testosterone-saturated circle-jerk.

    What a lot of wasted effort.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:48PM (#34570092)

    I don't know why people think the only strong suspects are Israel and the U.S.

    If you think about it, Russia not only has a number of potential motives (was paid off by one of the other arab nations like Saudi Arabia, annoyed at Iran for some reason, wants to make money selling the "fix" to the problem...), they have countries with many hackers that are well known for ability and also not as prone to speak out about what they are doing as a team (and this was a team effort) of U.S. hackers would be. On top of THAT, Russia also has (had?) engineers on site, which they could have used as an attack vector even unknowingly.

  • Re:Success (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fluffeh (1273756) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:48PM (#34570094)

    Oh yes, the future of modern warfare and sabotage is most certainly here.

    Absolutely. If anyone ever needed a proof of concept to do something like this, you can't go idly past this one. I totally agree that this will open a LOT of eyes who will all now be in the "Lets do one of those worm things to solve [insert problem], it worked with the Iranian nuclear program..."

    Might be a good time for the CV to start brushing up on writing some malware. Maybe form a small botnet or two just to cut your teeth on... Certainly beats spamming out messages about all sorts of pharmaceuticals as far as a paycheck goes.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:53PM (#34570124)
    Wasted effort, to stop a regime hellbent on removing another country's inhabitants from the map via absolutely any means possible, from having the biggest, nastiest weapon ever conceived?
    br Not in my book.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:58PM (#34570150)

    too late, Israel got the bomb decades ago

  • by kanto (1851816) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:14PM (#34570234)

    I'm tired of this monotonic "they're out to get us and they're missiles just got modded +1 Not Funny". As far as I know Iran isn't a particularly bad country for that neck of the woods; shouting "death to X" there doesn't literally mean you're going to kill someone, you could yell it a vending machine when it swallows your quarter. Yeah, they're backwards, but at least in many cases they seem less backward than their neighbors.

  • Re:If Only (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:16PM (#34570252)

    and have a bunch of islamo fascists target that country specifically, all for your GEEKY satisfaction.
    now I know why geeks are kicked around like football in US high schools. Because they are disconnected from reality, living in a world of bits and bytes alone.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:19PM (#34570272)
    Israel never removed a country's inhabitants from the map. They also haven't vowed the destruction of another country in the region, unlike a certain other regime in said region.
  • Re:Success (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nitehawk214 (222219) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:54PM (#34570474)

    I absolutely guarantee the US government payed as much for this code as it would have for any comparable attack with hardware. Hell, the company I work for just payed $19,000 for a SQL statement shorter than this very sentence.

    Invoice:
    Writing short sql statement: $10
    Knowing which short sql statement to write: $18990
    (assuming it did something useful and necessary)

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @12:18AM (#34570590) Homepage Journal

    >>Stuxnet Virus Set Back Iran's Nuclear Program by 2 Years...LOIC set Mastercard back 2 hours. Advantage, Stuxnet!

    Nah, Jimmy Carter set back the US nuclear program by 30 years by banning breeder reactors. Advantage: Carter, by a long mile. Well, Clinton can take some of the blame too, for killing the IFR over the protests of Dirty Dick Durbin, amazingly enough.

    I mean, good thing we never built breeder reactors, right? If we had, Iran might have a nuclear program by now, using stolen American plutonium!

    (You know all the political mess we are in over waste products, and how California has banned new nuclear until the waste issue is resolved? Breeder reactors use nuclear 'waste' as fuel, burning over 99% of the fuel, instead of the 1% or so efficiency we get from traditional PWR/BWR reactors. IFRs can also burn depleted uranium, and weapons-grade plutonium.)

  • Re:Success (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @12:18AM (#34570592) Homepage

    It will just change security. More isolation in systems. Simpler programs only designed to do the job they need to do and absolutely nothing else. More appliances with completely stripped down or even no operating system.

    Basically if you use M$ windows in what is meant to be a completely secure system, than you are a bloody idiot.

    I think the two year setback is also likely wildly optimistic, even including the time already lost, unless of course Iran chooses to stick with M$ Windows.

    The best hacks are still in hardware, chips built into capacitors, resistors etc. just waiting for that encoded signal to come in via their power feed to initiate intermittent power fluctuations (better than burn out, far harder to fix) and, really destructive when all spares will suffer from the same fault.

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @12:20AM (#34570610)

    "Israel never removed a country's inhabitants from the map."

    They did. By locking them up in a ghetto. Yes, they have not _kill_ them (yet).

    "They also haven't vowed the destruction of another country in the region, unlike a certain other regime in said region."

    Yup. They just keep on genociding, why waste time on public vows and declarations?

  • by cowwoc2001 (976892) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @12:34AM (#34570648)

    More sophisticated = more costly. If the end-result of this game is raising the cost for Iran to seek nuclear weapons then it's a win in its own right.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @12:41AM (#34570686)

    The entire area was owned by the British, and largely backing the Axis due to their support of the genocide. The British gave the land to Israel, who were the ones forcibly taking said land. Not like that's never happened before in history, but people make a big deal out of it because it's Israel. I hope you're not in the US, otherwise you should get out of there, since if you are, you took the lands of native people forcibly as well.

    Probably a bad idea to put a bunch of Jews in the center of a bunch of people who hate Jews, but it's not like the only reason they want to kill Jews is because their "homeland is being invaded". They were of that mindset long before Israel existed.

    Also, Iran didn't exist for the last 300 years, but if you count the Persians as "Iranians" for this example, most definitely started the second Russo-Persian War.

    Israel hasn't started a war, either, just to point that out - they just get embroiled in the whole "Arab Muslims tend to hate Jews" thing constantly, since they're surrounded by a bunch of countries that really, really don't like Jews (just look at the laws regarding Judaism in some of these countries). The only one that you can even possibly consider them starting a war (the Lebanon war) was a retaliation to a Lebanese assassination attempt on one of their ambassadors.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @01:42AM (#34570966)

    Stuxnet Virus Set Back Iran's Nuclear Program by 2 Years...LOIC set Mastercard back 2 hours. Advantage, Stuxnet!

    Err, thats "two Jerusalem Post Years", which are sort of like the "Iraqi Information Minister's Years", so in reality it was probably a tie.

    Weake up people. Jerusalem Post is a mouthpiece of Israel's far, far right. Those are the same turkeys who believe in Greater Israel and the like. In their view, should Stuxnet not be handily around to embellish on, they would have to fall back on to their old standby canard of "God's finger" slowing the Iranian centrifuges directly to protect his Jewish children ...

    They make Fox News look downright fair and balanced!

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:11AM (#34571110)

    "As if the Palestinians aren't killing (and attempting to kill) Israelis?"

    Yes, they do. Though they kill about 100 times less civilians than Israel.

    "Please, do apply the same standard to them."

    Of course. Palestinian terror should be stopped.

    "They have no plans to commit genocide on Palestinians, either, and if you think they do, you're a fucking moron."

    Who knows? Israeli army might have these plans and is just waiting for a good moment to enact them (say, for a nuclear strike on Israel by someone).

    Right now Palestine is living under apartheid conditions. Citizens of Palestine are not allowed to have their own country, foreign trade (even though they have access to seaports), etc. And yet they are also not citizens of Israel.

    Or how about recent demolitions of Arab houses in Jerusalem (because they don't have permissions) while at the same time building settlements (without any permissions - which is A-OK).

    Or the way Israel is sabotaging peace talks - every time there's at least a hope for a good result, Israel does something to disrupt it. Like shooting rockets at wheelchairs, changing pledge of allegiance, etc.

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @03:45AM (#34571428) Homepage Journal

    >>Early breeder reactor designs were inherently unstable, allowing situations where there could be a runaway reaction.

    You mean back in the 1950s when the first breeder reactors were built? :p Sure, I'll grant you that.

    The modern Type IV reactors safe(r), and since they get rid of most of the waste that causes most of the political problems with nuclear power, I'd say that it was a pretty bad decision by Clinton to kill the IFR research project.

    >>Building one and having it blow its top would have been a far worse setback than the path we did take.

    Sure. And if every reactor in the planet exploded right now, that would be bad, too. But if you're looking at risk levels from nuclear vs. other plants, the numbers just aren't there to support the anti-nuclear crowd. If nuclear killed even a hundredth of the people that have died from coal power (while it has been producing about half the power for our nation vs. coal), we'd have panicked and shut down all of the nuclear sites ages ago. We're fundamentally stupid about it.

    >>I'd agree completely that what we need need now is solid, proven breeder reactor tech, and the opportunity to get it was wasted. I just wanted to provide an alternative to the "grass is always greener" thinking - it could have been a disaster too.

    Sure, and I get what you're saying. But the main reason Carter and Clinton banned breeder reactors was not for safety reasons, but really about concerns over nuclear proliferation. The thinking is that if we had breeder reactors we'd not be able to morally take the high ground when we tried to stop Iran from going nuclear... oh wait. And also certain fears that people could steal the Plutonium coming out of the reactors and turn them into terrorist bombs. (Because, you know, if there's any place in America that is easy to steal from, it's a nuclear plant with all of its barbed wire and armed guards with machine guns.)

  • by Archtech (159117) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @03:50AM (#34571442)

    The point is not whether one group of people has ever forcibly conquered or displaced another. Almost all of history consists of that. But all the examples you cite are well in the past - at least before 1900. The point is whether supposedly civilized people should have set out to do such a thing in the 1940s - during and after the Nazi era. We rightly condemn the Nazis for setting out to conquer, displace, and sometimes exterminate indigenous peoples - then acquiesce smilingly when the Jews do the same thing. That's a classic double standard.

    By the way, I feel I should mention that:

    1. There is no evidence that Iran is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, and much that it isn't.
    2. It is against Iran's interests to have a nuclear weapons program, as that would provide Israel and the USA with a classic casus belli for an aggressive war against it. (Exactly as happened in Iraq).
    3. Iran has signed the NPT, and has complied with its rules. The NPT explicitly allows signatories to seek and acquire peaceful nuclear power generation.
    4. Israel (like India) has not signed the NPT, yet has not only pursued the acquisition of nuclear weapons; it is said to have over 100 of them, ready for use at any time. This is in flagrant breach of international law, yet no one seems to care.
    5. The USA, as revealed by Wikileaks, intends to supply Israel with fissionable material. As Israel has not signed the NPT, that is a violation of both international law and the NPT.
    6. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the state of Israel should be removed from the map. That would be achieved if, for instance, all the immigrant Jews were to go back to Europe, North America, and wherever else they came from, and the Palestinians were given back their homes. He did not call for the killing of anyone, let alone the genocide often falsely attributed to him.

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @10:34AM (#34573982) Homepage

    The US tends to attack countries that have oil, don't have nukes, and refuse to play ball.

    How did this idiocy get modded up? Who has the US attacked that has oil? We've been over this before. Afghanistan has essentially none. Iraq, at peak production, was generating US$20B/year in oil. We're spending $300B/year there. Think hard. 15 years of peak production to pay for 1 year of war. Even if we took all their oil (and we're not taking any) they don't have enough in the ground to repay us. We clearly didn't go there for their oil.

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