Thursday, March 03, 2011

Good Read

A real life who-done-it:

All over Europe, smartphones rang in the middle of the night. Rolling over in bed, blinking open their eyes, civilians reached for the little devices and, in the moment of answering, were effectively drafted as soldiers. They shook themselves awake as they listened to hushed descriptions of a looming threat. Over the next few days and nights, in mid-July of last year, the ranks of these sudden draftees grew, as software analysts and experts in industrial-control systems gathered in makeshift war rooms in assorted NATO countries. Government officials at the highest levels monitored their work. They faced a crisis which did not yet have a name, but which seemed, at first, to have the potential to bring industrial society to a halt.

A self-replicating computer virus, called a worm, was making its way through thousands of computers around the world, searching for small gray plastic boxes called programmable-logic controllers—tiny computers about the size of a pack of crayons, which regulate the machinery in factories, power plants, and construction and engineering projects.....

The worm is Stuxnet, of course. It's an interesting read if you're into this sort of thing. A lot of Stuxnet lore is speculation, some disagree on how much damage it did to the Iranian nuclear program; nobody can be 100% sure who's behind it. My immediate guess was that Israel was behind it and that it did great damage to the centrifuges. I could be wrong, but it's a fun who-done-it.