Thursday, December 02, 2010

Stuxnet


You may have seen this (read the whole thing) already, but in case you haven't:

After penetrating the Windows 7 operating system, the code then targeted the “frequency converters” that ran the centrifuges. To do that it used specifications from the manufacturers of the converters. One was Vacon, a Finnish Company, and the other Fararo Paya, an Iranian company. What surprises experts at this step is that the Iranian company was so secret that not even the IAEA knew about it.

--The worm also knew that the complex control system that ran the centrifuges was built by Siemens, the German manufacturer, and -- remarkably -- how that system worked as well and how to mask its activities from it.

--Masking itself from the plant's security and other systems, the worm then ordered the centrifuges to rotate extremely fast, and then to slow down precipitously. This damaged the converter, the centrifuges and the bearings, and it corrupted the uranium in the tubes. It also left Iranian nuclear engineers wondering what was wrong, as computer checks showed no malfunctions in the operating system.

Estimates are that this went on for more than a year, leaving the Iranian program in chaos. And as it did, the worm grew and adapted throughout the system. As new worms entered the system, they would meet and adapt and become increasingly sophisticated.

How clever, to muck stuff up, but not break it completely. If you destroy everything, you run the risk of them starting over from scratch. But by only breaking it a little at a time, you keep them busy trying to fix the old system; which remains infected. Genius.

Even better, now the Iranian scientists needed to fix the system have started exploding. I would so like to think that our CIA had a hand in this, but I doubt our fearless leader would have authorized it. How would he have had the time? He's been darned busy running a car company, ruining healthcare, and supporting the whole teetering house of cards with unemployment benefits. Thank goodness the Mossad didn't wait for him to get back from vacation. I hope and expect they have more tricks up their sleeves.

For our part, well, maybe we can help by firing off a couple of strongly worded cables.

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