Archive for the ‘Stuxnet’ Category


Tuesday, June 25th, 2019


We may be entering a whole era of cyber warfare.  Experts say that is how  future wars with be fought.    Nancy

U.S. Launched Cyberattacks on Iran

The cyberstrikes on Thursday targeted computer systems used to control missile and rocket launches

June 23, 2019

Updated June 23, 2019 1:52 pm ET

The U.S. covertly launched offensive cyber operations against an Iranian intelligence group’s computer systems on Thursday, the same day President Trump pulled back on using more traditional methods of military force, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The cyberstrikes, which were approved by Mr. Trump, targeted computer systems used to control missile and rocket launches that were chosen months ago for potential disruption, the officials said. The strikes were carried out by U.S. Cyber Command and in coordination with U.S. Central Command.

The officials declined to provide specific details about the cyberattacks, but one said they didn’t involve loss of life and were deemed “very” effective. They came during the peak of tensions this week between the U.S. and Iran over a series of incidents across the Middle East, including Tehran’s shooting down of an American reconnaissance drone.

The attacks also came as U.S. fears have grown that Iran may seek to lash out with cyberattacks of its own, as multiple cybersecurity firms said they had already seen signs Tehran is targeting relevant computer networks for intrusion and appeared particularly focused on the U.S. government and the American energy sector, including oil and gas providers.

While little was known about Thursday’s digital attacks, they were the latest indication that the U.S. has ramped up its willingness to use disruptive or destructive cyber weapons under President Trump after years of caution and drawn-out interagency deliberations that often led to inaction in previous administrations.

The National Security Council didn’t respond to requests for comment. “As a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence or planning,” a Pentagon spokesman said. Details of the cyber operations were first reported late Friday by Yahoo News.

Asked Sunday about reports of the cyberattacks, Vice President Mike Pence declined to address the matter. “We never comment on covert operations,” Mr. Pence said during an interview with CBS.

Current and former U.S. officials have warned that cyberattacks against Iran could increase the likelihood that Iran may respond in kind, and have noted Iran is particularly unpredictable in its own use of cyberattacks.




Tuesday, January 29th, 2019


Experts say our future  wars will not be fought with tanks. ships  and planes but will be cyber warfare.  We had better be ready.  Nancy

Strike Back Against Every Cyberattack

The U.S. can keep foreign hacks at bay by showing its ability and will to retaliate.

Jan. 27, 2019


Washington should commit to use its weapons against all aggressors. One example of America’s potential is Stuxnet, a U.S.- and Israeli-made virus that in 2007 infected Iran’s uranium-enrichment centrifuges, causing them to spin out of control. Stuxnet was certainly an offensive cyberweapon, but not a retaliatory one.

The U.S. really needs a second-strike cyberweapons program. In December 2015 the Russians launched cyberattacks on Ukraine, shutting down three power plants (which ran on Windows PCs). The U.S. should have immediately flickered all the lights in Moscow, to show them we can. Meddle in our elections? Fill Russia’s VK social network with endless Beto O’Rourke dental videos—it’s only fair. When the Chinese stole plans for the F-35 stealth fighter fromLockheed , we should have made every traffic light in Shanghai blink red, announcing “Stop, Don’t Hack Us Again.” North Korea’s Sonyhack? Scramble state-run TV signals in Pyongyang. They’ll get the message.


Another week, another data breach. The latest is 773 million online accounts for sale, many with passwords included, known as Collection #1. More are likely to come—go ahead and check your status at All this the same month Marriott admitted that five million unencrypted passport numbers were snatched from its system, probably by the Chinese. Oh, and the Russians might have hacked the Democratic National Committee again after the 2018 midterms. How do we stop this?

The foreign hacks are the most disturbing. Last month members of a Chinese espionage ring known as Advanced Persistent Threat Group 10 (a k a “Godkiller” and “Stone Panda”) were charged by the Justice Department with hacking NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and even IBM . Earlier last year the Chinese were caught stealing submarine data from a U.S. Navy contractor. And horror of horrors, in 2017 an Iranian national hacked HBO and threatened to release unaired episodes and plot summaries from “Game of Thrones.”

The U.S. has done close to nothing in response. Sure, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers last summer. I’m sure they’re quaking in their boots. Maybe those “Game of Thrones” episodes could have taught our leaders something about retaliation and revenge.

So what is America’s policy? That’s unclear. But a good start would be to heed the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told the press last week that his state has a permanent policy of hurting “everyone who is trying to hurt us.” The U.S. needs a similar stance to halt cyberattacks.



Sunday, August 19th, 2012




Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • June 16, 2012

They seem designed to glorify President Obama and help his re-election campaign.


What is happening with all these breaches of our national security? Why are intelligence professionals talking so much—divulging secret and sensitive information for all the world to see, and for our adversaries to contemplate?

In the past few months we have read that the U.S. penetrated al Qaeda in Yemen and foiled a terror plot; that the Stuxnet cyberworm, which caused chaos in the Iranian nuclear program, was a joint Israeli-American operation; and that President Obama personally approves every name on an expanding “kill list” of those targeted and removed from life by unmanned drones. According to the New York Times, Mr. Obama pores over “suspects’ biographies” in “what one official calls ‘the macabre ‘baseball cards’ of an unconventional war.”

From David Sanger’s new book, “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” we learn that Stuxnet was “the most sophisticated, complex cyberattack the United States had ever launched.” Its secret name was “Olympic Games.” America and Israel developed the “malicious software” together, the U.S. at Fort Meade, Md., where it keeps “computer warriors,” Israel at a military intelligence agency it “barely acknowledges exists.”

The Pentagon has built a replica of Iran’s Natanz enrichment plant. The National Security Agency “routinely taps the ISI’s cell phones”—that’s the Pakistani intelligence agency. A “secret” U.S. program helps Pakistan protect its nuclear facilities; it involves fences and electronic padlocks. Still, insurgents bent on creating a dirty bomb, if they have a friend inside, can slip out “a few grams of nuclear material at a time” and outwit security systems targeted at major theft. In any case, there’s a stockpile of highly enriched uranium sitting “near an aging research reactor in Pakistan.” It could be used for several dirty bombs.

It’s a good thing our enemies can’t read. Wait, they can! They can download all this onto their iPads at a café in Islamabad.

It’s all out there now. Mr. Sanger’s sources are, apparently, high administration officials, whose diarrhetic volubility marks a real breakthrough in the history of indiscretion.

What are they thinking? That in the age of Wikileaks the White House itself should be one big Wikileak? (more…)



Friday, June 8th, 2012
Published on The Weekly Standard (

Bride of Stuxnet

Webcraft as spycraft.

Jonathan V. Last

June 11, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 37

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  But once Flame was running, it was like something out of science fiction. Flame could watch a target even when he was completely alone. It could listen to every word he said on the telephone, or through Skype, or to a colleague walking past his desk. It could rifle through his computer files and find any document. Or peek into a cell phone sitting in someone’s pocket in the next room. It never had to worry about getting caught in the act. And on a moment’s notice, it could erase any sign that it was ever there. It kept up constant communication with its handlers, even when they were thousands of miles away, and it always followed orders.

Whoever engineered Flame didn’t just build the most spectacular computer worm ever made. They created the perfect spy

Last April, the Iranian Oil Ministry and the National Iranian Oil Company noticed a problem with some of their computers: A small number of machines were spontaneously erasing themselves. Spooked by the recent Stuxnet attack, which had wrecked centrifuges in their nuclear labs, the Iranians suspected a piece of computer malware was to blame. They went to the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union and asked for help. After an initial investigation, it was determined that the Iranians had been hit with a new piece of malicious software; it was temporarily labeled Wiper. Or Viper. After translating the moniker into different languages, no one is quite sure what the original nickname was.

The experts from Turtle Bay quickly realized they were out of their depth with Wiper/Viper and contracted a Russian computer security firm, Kaspersky Lab, to help. As the techs at Kaspersky investigated, they began to find bits and pieces of a much bigger program. What they eventually uncovered forced them to put aside Wiper/Viper and send out an all-hands call to the tech community: a cyber-weapon that made Stuxnet look primitive. They called it Flame.

Stuxnet was like a guided missile with a targeted payload. It was created to spread rapidly, but always to be seeking a particular set of computers​—​machines made by Siemens and used to control centrifuge operations at a uranium enrichment plant. Once Stuxnet reached its destination, it had very precise instructions: It altered the speed of the centrifuges in such a manner as to slowly degrade the equipment and destroy the uranium they contained​—​all while sending false readings back to the operating console so that neither the computer nor the human supervisors would notice the damage being done.

If Stuxnet was like a missile, then Flame is more like a surveillance satellite.

Once a computer is infected by Flame, the program begins a process of taking over the entire machine. Flame records every keystroke by the user, creating a perfect log of all activity. It takes pictures of the screen every 60 seconds​—​and every 15 seconds when instant message or email programs are in use. It records all administrative action on the computer​—​taking note of network passwords, for instance. And it rummages through the computer’s hard drive copying documents and files. (more…)



Friday, April 1st, 2011
  • The Wall Street Journal
    • MARCH 31, 2011

    An assault on Estonia in 2007 disrupted banking and other services for over a week.


    Last week, the European Union revealed that its headquarters had come under a major cyber attack, likely state-sponsored, on the eve of the EU summit. Earlier this month, the French announced that they had been hit with a cyber assault at the end of 2010, probably launched by Chinese hackers, aimed at pilfering sensitive G-20 documents from finance ministry computers in Paris. Last fall, the Nasdaq suffered what looks like an organized-crime attack on a service it provides to corporate executives for exchanging confidential files.

    But what if e-espionage aimed at the financial sector suddenly escalated into e-war? What if, for example, China, North Korea or Iran initiated a crippling assault against the West’s electronic financial network, where trillions of dollars worth of transactions occur every day?

    Such an event would mean a massive and potentially long-­lasting disruption to the flow of dollars and euros among banks, businesses and consumers. At a minimum, it would mean the loss or corruption of financial data at major stock and commodity exchanges. (more…)



    Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

    Virtual war a real threat

    The U.S. is vulnerable to a cyber attack, with its electrical grids, pipelines, chemical plants and other infrastructure designed without security in mind. Some say not enough is being done to protect the country.

    By Ken Dilanian, Washington Bureau

    March 28, 2011

    Reporting from Washington

    When a large Southern California water system wanted to probe the vulnerabilities of its computer networks, it hired Los Angeles-based hacker Marc Maiffret to test them. His team seized control of the equipment that added chemical treatments to drinking water — in one day.

    The weak link: County employees had been logging into the network through their home computers, leaving a gaping security hole. Officials of the urban water system told Maiffret that with a few mouse clicks, he could have rendered the water undrinkable for millions of homes.

    “There’s always a way in,” said Maiffret, who declined to identify the water system for its own protection.

    The weaknesses that he found in California exist in crucial facilities nationwide, U.S. officials and private experts say.

    The same industrial control systems Maiffret’s team was able to commandeer also run electrical grids, pipelines, chemical plants and other infrastructure. Those systems, many designed without security in mind, are vulnerable to cyber attacks that have the potential to blow up city blocks, erase bank data, crash planes and cut power to large sections of the country. (more…)



    Thursday, January 20th, 2011
  • The Wall Street Journal
    • JANUARY 18, 2011

    A neat computer trick won’t stop Iran from getting the bomb.


    Long before there was the Stuxnet computer worm there was the “Farewell” spy dossier.

    In 1980, a KGB officer named Vladimir Vetrov began passing secrets to French intelligence. Vetrov was in a position to know the names of a network of Soviet agents (known as Line X) involved in pilfering capitalist technologies, which is how Moscow managed to stay nearly competitive with the West.

    Col. Vetrov’s Farewell dossier, as the French code-named it, eventually arrived at the desk of an American National Security Council official named Gus Weiss. It was Weiss who suggested to then-CIA director Bill Casey that the West not roll up the spy network right away, but rather that it be played for greater stakes.

    “I proposed using the Farewell material to feed or play back the products sought by Line X,” he later wrote in an unclassified CIA history, “but these would come from our own sources and would have been ‘improved’. . . . Contrived computer chips found their way into Soviet military equipment, flawed turbines were installed on a gas pipeline. . . . The Pentagon introduced misleading information pertinent to stealth aircraft, space defense, and tactical aircraft. The Soviet Space Shuttle was a rejected NASA design.”

    How well did the plan work? In June 1982, one of Casey’s “improved” computer control systems, containing a Trojan horse in its software, caused the trans-Siberian gas pipeline to explode. U.S. spy satellites captured images of what was described by former Air Force Secretary Thomas Reed as “the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space.”

    Thus did the Soviet Union end up on the ash-heap of history.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at an Iranian nuclear plant. Stuxnet is watching.





    Monday, January 17th, 2011

    NEWS  &  OBSERVER,     Raleigh

    Jan 16, 2011

    The Dimona complex in the Negev desert is famous as the heavily guarded heart of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program, where rows of factories make atomic fuel for the arsenal.

    Over the past two years, according to experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role – as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.

    Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that now appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

    “To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”

    Though American and Israeli officials refuse to talk publicly about what goes on at Dimona, the operations there, as well as related efforts in the United States, are among the newest and strongest clues suggesting that the virus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program. (more…)



    Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
    • JANUARY 5, 2011

    Covert Action Makes a Comeback

    Once in disrepute, secret warfare is now embraced even by the Obama administration to fight terrorism and weapons proliferation.


    We’re in an era of “covert action.”

    That phrase went into disrepute in the 1970s, when Congress’s Church Committee exposed hare-brained CIA plots to eliminate foreign leaders, such as assassinating Fidel Castro with exploding cigars. President Ford banned assassinations, a chastened CIA cast many veteran officers into the cold, and Congress imposed new limits on covert activities. From then on the president would have to approve all operations in writing and notify senior members of Congress. There would be no more “wink-and-nod” authorizations.

    Covert action made a comeback in the 1980s, as the U.S. directed billions of dollars in aid to the Afghan anti-Soviet mujahedeen—the most successful covert action in American history. Yet at the same time President Reagan’s National Security Council was pursuing a crazy scheme to sell weapons to Iran and channel some of the proceeds to the Nicaraguan Contras, so as to bypass a congressional ban on aid to the guerrillas. The Iran-Contra scandal almost brought down the Reagan administration and once again tarnished the reputation of covert action.

    In the 1990s, out of an abundance of caution, the Clinton administration failed to act effectively against Osama bin Laden and the growing danger of al Qaeda. The CIA and the military’s Special Operations forces offered proposals for capturing or killing bin Laden and his senior lieutenants, but the risk-averse White House rejected them. (more…)

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