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

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:38PM (#34570042)

    to be a wedge issue in the next US elections. /rolls eyes

  • Problematic Approach (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16, 2010 @12:05AM (#34570176)

    The problem with this approach and other similar forced social and technological engineering attempts by the west against Iran, is that it forces Iran to become more independent and self-reliant. It is true that there is a temporary short-term win, however in the long run it creates a scenario of technological escalation.

    Lets review Technological Escalation ala'Iraq:

    Attack Vector: IED v1.0 - Road side bomb with detonator fuse wire, bomber hides in near buy building, waits for US tanks to go past, presses red button
    US Countermeasure: Train soldiers to look for suspicious packages or mounds of garbage were wire or some such are leading away from mound, once detected fire at location where wire ends up.

    Attack Vector: IED v2.0 - Same as v1 but now uses a wireless trigger mechanism based on childrens walkie-talkies to set-off explosive. As before waits for US tanks to go past, presses red button
    US Countermeasure: Provide signal jamming equipment on-board all patrols and tanks.

    Attack Vector: IED v3.0 - Same as v2 but now uses continuous signal trigger mechanism to set-off explosive. As before waits for US tanks to go past, presses red button, but now signal stops and explosive goes kaboom!
    US Countermeasure: Same as before but instead of jamming the signal, all terrestrial signals are replicated, allowing the tank/patrol to pass by without being blown up.

    Attack Vector: IED v4.0 - Same as v3 uses continuous signal trigger mechanism to set-off explosive. Signal begin sent is encrypted and uses a random sequence number, As before waits for US tanks to go past, presses red button, signal stops and explosive goes kaboom!
    US Countermeasure: Pray...., play crappy rock/death metal music while driving around bagdad.

    Attack Vector: IED v5.0 - Same as v4, but now they have time to refine the design of the ordinates, remember the movie coneheads with Dan Akroid? Well it turns out for a really good focused explosion, all you need is a piece of steal in that shape packed with C4, with the pointy end aim at the direction you wish the explosive to fire - Armoured penetration as per and 09' pentagon report is roughly successful 85% of the time.
    US Countermeasure: Pray....

    Attack Vector: IED v6.0 - Same as v5, but made to be more weather resistant, with added proximity sensors, modern cars aren't made with as much steel and Iron as patrol cars or tanks - so it makes for a good differentaitor which can be use with a proximity fuse.
    US Countermeasure: N/A

    Do you really want to force your enemies hand like this?

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @12:06AM (#34570184) Homepage
    regardless of how awed the media is in the wake of the stuxnet worm, things like this only work once, and only under certain conditions. In any functional nuclear program there exists a very strict information systems security policy to prevent exactly this type of malicious activity from occuring. I also wouldnt be surprised if the "two years" assertion is an overstatement to placate the middle east.

    Iran will likely switch from windows controllers for their Siemens PLC's to hardened linux or BSD, taking a page from chinese internet security experts and refusing to trust western code that cannot be independently evaluated. and if we remember the cold war, irans woes feel like washingtons foreign policy from the cold war being flexed all over again []
  • Uh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16, 2010 @12:35AM (#34570382)

    Great - so they were delayed 2 friggin years. Woop-de-doo. Now they'll get it sorted out and get back on track, and the problem is EXACTLY the same as it was beforehand.

    There are only two ways to stop Iran from pursuing this - either convince them somehow it's not something they need/want to do, or use military force to make it something they CANNOT do. This did neither.

    Frankly, I don't think there is any practical way out of this one. I have a hunch Iran wants nuclear weapons to be able to tell the rest of the world to bugger off - any non-nuclear power is a candidate for invasion, but a nuclear power is a different story and it's a good guess Iran wants to become non-viable as an invasion target. Given that, why would they do anything other than exactly what they say they are going to do - i.e. pursue whatever they want to? They want to be independent and non-dependent - even if they really don't want nuclear weapons, nuclear power is a good option for that and refining their fuel elsewhere just makes them a client state of the rest of the world.

    Here's an interesting mental exercise - put yourself in Iran's shoes. Which course would YOU pursue? You've had a front row seat for the invasion of Iraq, been listed (effectively) as an enemy of the US, and you want to ensure your state remains its own state and not beholden to some other power. What is your best option? Trust to the good intentions and honorable behavior of others, or develop your own power/capabilities internally?

    Iran probably is a danger due to their radical leadership, but expecting them to act in any interest other than their own, as THEY see it, is a pipe dream. And slowing their program by two years does absolutely nothing to change the larger picture and larger dangers, which play out over decades not years.

  • Re:Success (Score:4, Interesting)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @01:04AM (#34570528)

    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.

    In other words, the relative advantage conferred by our overwhelming advantage in wealth and firepower is being tossed out for a level playing field in which we are very vulnerable and, even developing nations can pose a serious threat.

  • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:16AM (#34570868)

    I hope you don't live in the US, England, Germany, or nearly any other country. Because let's face it: there isn't a fucking place on Earth that hasn't been forcibly taken from the people who (formerly) own(ed) it at some point in history. Anglos took over the Saxons, Norway took over England, Germany at one point owned Europe, the USSR owned everything east of Germany, China isn't a historical state either, Japan wasn't unified a while ago, India wasn't a state, the USA wouldn't exist, Mexico was owned for quite a long time (didn't even get to keep their language)...the list goes on, of how blind you are to history if you think one group of people has never moved in on another group's turf. It's new to history for such a global issue to be created over 8000 square miles, though.

    I also said remove them from the map - outright genocide hasn't happened by their hands, despite the sequestering of land. As it turns out, they are, by a longshot, better than the Spaniards, the then-future-Americans, the Normans, the English, the Japanese, the Germans, the French, the Dutch, the Chinese...

  • by Kyusaku Natsume ( 1098 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @03:23AM (#34571150)

    Now the incumbents could claim with proof -a tenuous proof, if you like- that the opposition is in bed with the US and Israel and against their own country. Nobody likes collaborationists. They managed to set back the enrichment program, but strengthened the hand of conservatives far more. Time will tell if this isn't another pirric victory like in 1953.

  • by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:49AM (#34571438) Homepage Journal

    >> that you, General Electric? Or Siemens?

    Is that you, shill for the coal mining industry?

  • Re:Success (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JerkBoB ( 7130 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @10:09AM (#34572860)

    And just think, it could have all been prevented by *not connecting your scada production network to the fucking Internet*.

    It wasn't connected to the internet. That's a major part of the brilliance that is Stuxnet. The worm infected machines all over Europe and Iran, and spread via USB sticks. At some point (or more likely several points), the infected drive or drives found their way into the machines used to program the Iranian SCADA systems, and then the worm moved into its next phase of infection. It's pretty incredible, the way the authors targeted the iranian systems used for uranium enrichment and only the iranian systems.

  • by rogerz ( 78608 ) <> on Thursday December 16, 2010 @10:21AM (#34572998)

    You show little understanding of the Middle Eastern psyche. Read Bernard Lewis. Incompetence is not rewarded, it is is looked on with disparagement. Being strong and saving face are critical. Indeed, the regime has been extremely reluctant to admit *any* impact from the attack. If they were going to pursue your strategy, they would bemoan the actions of the "imperialists". I bet they never will, because of the culture of "face".

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury