I was at a small village in the West Bank a few weeks ago where four soldier were kept posted for security reasons. The soldiers came over to the house where I was staying for the Shabbat meal. It turned out that they were part of an intelligence unit who were at the outpost on a “… mans vacation”, as they put it. They usually spent their days at a desk working as programmers but once a year they are given a week of active duty. “What kind of programming did they do?” I asked. And that was about as far as that conversation went.
I thought of them when I read about this Stuxnet worm that is designed to take control of the electronics which regulate the rotation speed of motors. From the report I read, it was almost certainly designed to sabotage nuclear centrifuges. Interestingly enough Iran is having difficulty keeping its centrifuges running and has confirmed that it is battling Stuxnet. Imagine steel cylinders full of costly plutonium spinning wildly out of control and disintegrating…
This was not a program created by a 16 year old kid bored with his homework. Many think that it was designed by a state… possibly Israel. Of course Israel has not confirmed one way or another although, according to the article, several Israeli intelligence officer break out in a big grin when the subject comes up.
The story makes one wonder about what goes on behind the scenes. There was an article in Time about the cyber-battles being fought between the US and China. It seems that in any future war, we may be as reliant on a shadowy group of hackers able to hack into servers and remain there like a bug on a wall, a wrong keystroke betraying their presence to the enemy. And of course, just recently, China hijacked 15% of the worlds internet traffic for 18 minutes, apparently putting secure connections at risk. I am not sure what that means, but you have to wonder that, having become so reliant on the internet for business and gov’n services, what would happen if the internet were compromised? Isn’t the very nature of the world wide web – that it is open to all and unregulated – also place it at risk? Or is the internet somehow immune from the Inverse Law of Security and Freedom (ILOSAF)- an increase in security must result in a decrease in freedom.
This discussion is above my pay curve but I think I will buy some gold and short the Nasdaq anyway.
The story is from here