Remember when “someone” used the Stuxnet virus, or rather worm, in an Iranian nuclear plant several years ago to freeze Iranian nuclear production, leading to a major diplomatic scandal involving the spy agencies of both the US and Israel, as the world learned that in the present day industrial sabotage only needed a flash drive and a computer virus to render even the most sophisticated piece of industrial machinery obsolete? Well, moments ago, Bloomberg reported that a computer virus was discovered in a German nuclear power plant.
The super worm known as Stuxnet was but a cog in an active US war program in which hundreds of thousands of network implants and backdoors in Iran networks were actively maintained to facilitate a devastating barrage of hacking attacks, a documentary claims.
Zero Days, due to screen at the Berlin Film Festival today, claims that Stuxnet was just one part of an operation called “Olympic Games” that is itself part of a wider effort dubbed “Nitro Zeus” that involves hundreds of US defence personnel.
– America and Israel Created a Monster Computer Virus Which Now Threatens Nuclear Reactors Worldwide (Washington’s Blog, Nov 12, 2013):
Even Threatens the International Space Station
In their obsession to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the U.S. and Israel created a computer virus (called “Stuxnet”) to take out Iran’s nuclear enrichment machinery.
The virus appears to have spread to other countries.
One of the world’s top computer security experts – Eugene Kaspersky – said this week that the virus has attacked a Russian nuclear reactor. As The Register notes:
Inside Fort Meade, Maryland, a top-secret city bustles. Tens of thousands of people move through more than 50 buildings—the city has its own post office, fire department, and police force. But as if designed by Kafka, it sits among a forest of trees, surrounded by electrified fences and heavily armed guards, protected by antitank barriers, monitored by sensitive motion detectors, and watched by rotating cameras. To block any telltale electromagnetic signals from escaping, the inner walls of the buildings are wrapped in protective copper shielding and the one-way windows are embedded with a fine copper mesh.
This is the undisputed domain of General Keith Alexander, a man few even in Washington would likely recognize. Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extends across three domains: He is director of the world’s largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency; chief of the Central Security Service; and commander of the US Cyber Command. As such, he has his own secret military, presiding over the Navy’s 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.
Schematically, Alexander’s empire consists of the following: virtually every piece in America’s information intelligence arsenal.
With his revelations exposing the extent of potential, and actual, pervasive NSA surveillance over the American population, Edward Snowden has done a great service for the public by finally forcing it to answer the question: is having Big Brother peek at every private communication and electronic information, a fair exchange for the alleged benefit of the state’s security. Alas, without further action form a population that appears largely numb and apathetic to disclosures that until recently would have sparked mass protests and toppled presidents, the best we can hope for within a political regime that has hijacked the democratic process, is some intense introspection as to what the concept of “America” truly means.
However, and more importantly, what Snowden’s revelations have confirmed, is that behind the scenes, America is now actively engaged in a new kind of war: an unprecedented cyber war, where collecting, deciphering, intercepting, and abusing information is the only thing that matters and leads to unprecedented power, and where enemies both foreign and domestic may be targeted without due process based on a lowly analyst’s “whim.”
It has also put spotlight on the man, who until recently deep in the shadows, has been responsible for building America’s secret, absolutely massive cyber army, and which according to a just released Wired profile is “capable of launching devastating cyberattacks. Now it’s ready to unleash hell.”
Meet General Keith Alexander, “a man few even in Washington would likely recognize”, which is troubling because Alexander is now quite possibly the most powerful person in the world, that nobody talks about. Which is just the way he likes it.
– Secret rules to let Obama order ‘pre-emptive’ cyber attacks (PressTV, Feb 4, 2013):
A secret legal review on the use of America’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons has concluded that President Obama has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad, according to officials involved in the review.
That decision is among several reached in recent months as the administration moves, in the next few weeks, to approve the nation’s first rules for how the military can defend, or retaliate, against a major cyberattack.
New policies will also govern how the intelligence agencies can carry out searches of faraway computer networks for signs of potential attacks on the United States and, if the president approves, attack adversaries by injecting them with destructive code – even if there is no declared war.
– “The Worm Turns” As Chevron ‘Infected’ By Stuxnet Collateral Damage (ZeroHedge, Nov 10, 2012):
“I don’t think the US government even realized how far it had spread” is how the collateral damage from the Iran-attacking Stuxnet computer virus is described by Chevron. The sleep San-Ramon-based oil giant admitted this week that from 2010 on “we’re finding it in our systems and so are other companies… so now we have to deal with it.” It would seem that little consideration for just how viral this cyber warfare tactic has become and this news (reported by Russia Today) is the first time a US company has come clean about the accidental infection. Discovered in 2010, the Stuxnet worm was reported with all but certainty to be the creation of the United States, perhaps with the assistance of Israel, to set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program as a preemptive measure against an eventual war. In a June 2012 article published by The New York Times, government agents with direct knowledge of Stuxnet claimed that first President George W. Bush, then Barack Obama, oversaw the deployment of the worm as part of a well-crafted cyberassault on Iran. On the record, the federal government maintains ignorance on the subject of Stuxnet, but perhaps Chevron sums up the impact of Stuxnet best (given the escalating Iranian enrichment program): “I think the downside of what they did is going to be far worse than what they actually accomplished.”
Via Russia Today:
America’s cyberwar is already seeing collateral damage, and it’s hitting the country’s own billion-dollar companies. Oil giants Chevron say the Stuxnet computer virus made by the US to target Iran infected their systems as well.
– Feds Look to Fight Leaks With ‘Fog of Disinformation’ (Wired, July 3, 2012):
Pentagon-funded researchers have come up with a new plan for busting leakers: Spot them by how they search, and then entice the secret-spillers with decoy documents that will give them away.
Computer scientists call it it “Fog Computing” — a play on today’s cloud computing craze. And in a recent paper for Darpa, the Pentagon’s premiere research arm, researchers say they’ve built “a prototype for automatically generating and distributing believable misinformation … and then tracking access and attempted misuse of it. We call this ‘disinformation technology.’”
– Flame Steals Data Even When Computers Are Not Connected to the Internet (Occupy Corporatism, June 13, 2012):
Experts specializing in malware from Bitdefender have uncovered a special capability in Flame’s code that allows the virus to steal data from computers that are not connected to the internet or networked machines.
Flame can move stolen data to a USB memory stick plugged into an infected harddrive. Bitdefender assert that this ability has never been witnessed before. This cyberespionage virus will move stolen information to an USB outlet, then seemingly wait for the chance to upload it to the malware controllers once the infected computer links to the internet.
– Flame virus, most sophisticated malicious code ever seen, was developed by U.S. government (Natural News, June 12, 2012):
Anyone who has spent longer than a day on a computer knows how dangerous to your hard drive malware and other malicious code can be. Most of us have fallen victim to one or the other and have cursed the day the hacker who developed it was born.
Now, according to reports, some of the most sophisticated malicious code ever developed is a product of the United States government, leaving more than a few tech experts and analysts concerned that maybe now, Washington has become a bigger info-terrorist than some of the country’s worst enemies.