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The Wild, Wild World of Stuxnet

2011/01/11

“[I]t was ‘like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield.’”

Surely you’ve heard of of Stuxnet already.  If you haven’t, you most certainly will.  Pray that your hospital, nuclear power plant, and traffic light systems don’t.

There’s so much backstory, some of it pretty technical, just start with the links below.  The basics are that someone, nobody knows who, managed to get a computer virus inside Iran’s nuclear program.  It took, in Microsoft’s estimation, over 10,000 days – about 27 years – of work to create.  The program was designed to be secretly introduced, selectively malevolent, able to protect itself, and do all this without detection.  Its purpose wasn’t to destroy outright, but to severely (and covertly) damage its target and only its target.

A rather large twist is that Iranian nuclear professors have been turning up dead.  From car bombs.  The other, more far-reaching twist on the story is that Sky News discovered a while ago that, of course, the virus has been sold.  Big deal, right?  Watch the brief clip at the end of the Hot Air article.

Who did it?  Did it work?  Is it only a part of the attack?  Was it meant to be found?  Who’s murdering nuclear scientists?  Is Iran itself offing people it deems traitorous?  This one should get vastly more interesting as we go.

This horse’s money says that a Walther PPK is involved someway, somehow.

Hot Air – Stuxnet:  The Second Greatest Story Ever Told

Fox News – Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

Al Jazeera – Iranian ‘nuclear scientist’ killed

UPDATE:

Hot Air – NYT: Yep, Stuxnet is a joint U.S./Israeli project — ordered by Bush

UPDATE 2:

About the best boil-down of the entire saga.  One take from the comments thread was that this reads like a Tom Clancy novel.  It’s lengthy, but simply great stuff.

Wired – Threat Level:  How Digital Detectives Deciphered Stuxnet, the Most Menacing Malware in History

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