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Nuclear Warhead Blueprints On Smugglers' Computers

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the that's-worrisome dept.

Security 637

imrehg links to a story at the Guardian which begins "Blueprints for a sophisticated and compact nuclear warhead have been found in the computers of the world's most notorious nuclear-smuggling racket, according to a leading US researcher. The digital designs, found in heavily encrypted computer files in Switzerland, are believed to be in the possession of the US authorities and of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, but investigators fear they could have been extensively copied and sold to 'rogue' states via the nuclear black market." Reader this great guy links to the New York Times article on the discovery, and asks "Given that Khan's revelations were made in early 2004, does that mean it took the IAEA 1-2 years to brute-force the encryption?"

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first (-1, Offtopic)

Lolzownz (888492) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806787)

first

FPers for code cracking? (-1, Offtopic)

zurtle (785688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807295)

Surely people with an ethic for being so fast should be placed in such positions to fully utilise their aptitude?

Give the man/woman/thing a contract for the safety of our countries! The War of Terror demands it!

Garage Nukes (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806795)

Let's face it, the Nuclear Cat is slowly crawling out of the bag and will no longer be containable soon. We need to develop better nuke-detection and interception technology or we will be doomed by rogue garage nukes and missiles.
           

Re:Garage Nukes (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806853)

We need better protection against theoretically impossible threats - like backpack nukes.

Re:Garage Nukes (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807247)

They have it as a poster states but I'm partial to this myself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_(nuclear_device) [wikipedia.org]
http://www.guntruck.com/DavyCrockett.html [guntruck.com]
http://www.brookings.edu/projects/archive/nucweapons/davyc.aspx [brookings.edu]

M-388 Davy Crockett nuclear weapon. It used the smallest nuclear warhead ever developed by the United States.

Re:Garage Nukes (5, Interesting)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806861)

Sjuh... there's only one option: contain it at the source(s). Very strict contol of enrichment. That's about all one can do, and unfortunately doesn't control already distributed materials nor as yet untouched ore sources - which may become in trek if the world does get strict on ores. But methinks the only real solution is nuclear fusion. Make sure there's enough power for everyone's needs, and then some; that way we can try to kick the planet into a Golden Age and maybe the shortsighted suicidal monkeys will give it a rest and get back to masturbation instead of terrorism. God knows I'd sponsor 'em with a blowup doll or something.

Re:Garage Nukes (3, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807017)

Golden age... equal people having more kids... equal end of golden age with an even larger die off.

Fundamental problem.. the problem underneath almost every problem is that the world population is already probably double what it should be.

We are pretty much doomed so just enjoy the ride until the end.

Re:Garage Nukes (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807021)

See, that's insightful. If we take away our enemies' incentive to fight us, we will be safer. I'm glad you actually got modded up for saying it, rather than modded to -1 and buried under "boohooo you're letting the terrorists win" replies. That's not what it's about. It's not about giving in to our enemies, it's about preventing people from becoming our enemies in the first place.

Re:Garage Nukes (1, Flamebait)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807145)

Energy will always be expensive for two reasons, capitalism and greed. Some would say they are one and the same.

Re:Garage Nukes (3, Funny)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807189)

See, that's insightful. If we take away our enemies' incentive to fight us, we will be safer. I'm glad you actually got modded up for saying it, rather than modded to -1 and buried under "boohooo you're letting the terrorists win" replies. That's not what it's about. It's not about giving in to our enemies, it's about preventing people from becoming our enemies in the first place.

You are obviously too mature, perceptive, and reasonable to be on Slashdot. Please leave immediately, before you ruin the site's reputation.

Re:Garage Nukes (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807299)

See, that's insightful. If we take away our enemies' incentive to fight us, we will be safer. I'm glad you actually got modded up for saying it, rather than modded to -1 and buried under "boohooo you're letting the terrorists win" replies. That's not what it's about. It's not about giving in to our enemies, it's about preventing people from becoming our enemies in the first place.

That's all very nice and good.

So what will you do when someone demands that you follow their religion? When they demand that you force your women to cover themselves? Demand that homosexuals be put to death?

In the real world, there are people who hate you just for who you are, not which country you support in the middle east.

Re:Garage Nukes (5, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806863)

The knowledge on how to build a nuke is by no means much of a secret. Yes, the design for more recent fusion-based and otherwise advanced nuclear weapons is surrounded by a lot of hush-hush but a simple fission-based nuke could probably be designed and built by students from any university engineering department, the theory behind it is available in most libraries, as is the basic design of some of the earlier nuclear weapons.

What is hard to get a hold of is the fissible material needed to manufacture a working bomb.

/Mikael

Re:Garage Nukes (4, Interesting)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806887)

The issue is not with building a gadget that produces an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction. Putting that in a compact, reliable, and deliverable package is what takes effort.

Re:Garage Nukes (5, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806905)

Well, I don't want to sound like a fearmonger but compact isn't much of a problem as long as your definition of compact is "smaller than a freight container". Reliability might be a bit harder for your average garage nuke to have though...

/Mikael

Freight container is exactly right! (4, Insightful)

Terje Mathisen (128806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806997)

Any bomb that fits easily into a standard freight container is already a horrible nightmare:

These containers travel worldwide, are rarely inspected if the paperwork seems to be OK, and they can easily stay in a harbor area of a major city for many months.

The only trigger you need is a cell phone, so you can preplace them wherever you like and blow up any coastal city in the world, whenever you want to.

Stopping this scenario is probably (or should be) the real nightmare for most of the three-letter agencies in the world.

Terje

Re:Freight container is exactly right! (2, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807075)

Yes, already at that size it would be difficult to protect yourself from, but as I pointed out in my previous post, reliability would also be important and if you're building your nuke in some warehouse in an unstable country chances are you'll a bit of a problem building a nuke that will go off reliably instead of being just a "fizzle" (although that could be pretty bad as well), and if you want a predictable yield then it's definitely something that takes a lot of resources.

/Mikael

Re:Freight container is exactly right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807163)

Any bomb that fits easily into a standard freight container is already a horrible nightmare:

These containers travel worldwide, are rarely inspected if the paperwork seems to be OK, and they can easily stay in a harbor area of a major city for many months.

The only trigger you need is a cell phone, so you can preplace them wherever you like and blow up any coastal city in the world, whenever you want to.

Stopping this scenario is probably (or should be) the real nightmare for most of the three-letter agencies in the world.

Which is why we have electrical engineers to save us.
And so the only thing that lies between modern life and the world being reduced to a nuclear wasteland is the fact that shipping containers happen to be effective Faraday Cages.
They should make a movie about physicists saving the world.. maybe they could sneak in and upload a bluetooth virus to the trigger phone.

Re:Freight container is exactly right! (1)

IvyKing (732111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807175)

Terje,


This has been a concern of DHS for several years now, specifically DNDO. The DHS is working on several levels of protection, ranging from having a list of known shippers to developing technologies for passive and active screening for nukes. One fortunate happenstance is that plutonium, the most common material for making weapons, has a high spontaneous fission rate - while it is possible to shield the resulting high energy gamma's and neutrons, the shielding itself will stand out like a sore thumb.


P.S. I do enjoy your postings on comp.arch, along with the other regulars as Nick, Del, Eugene, etc.

Re:Freight container is exactly right! (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807293)

You read too much of Clive Cussler [wikipedia.org] . But the scenario is not too unreal. The only stopping factor is that it's so hard (and expensive) to obtain a nuclear device. A mega-corporation, or a government, like in that book, can do that.

Re:Freight container is exactly right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807307)

The only trigger you need is a cell phone,

or gps even

Re:Freight container is exactly right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807309)

Luckily CTU already has the L.A. area covered.

Re:Garage Nukes (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807105)

Reliability might be a bit harder for your average garage nuke to have though...

Yeah, it won't pass muster with those darn Safety Inspectors.
               

Large SUV? (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807171)

The extremely simple gun-type design using U235 and used by the US on Japan could be made really quite reliable rather easily and would fit into an SUV or minivan with little trouble. (This information is in the public domain.) I have always assumed that the US bombed Japan twice, once with a simple and reliable design and once with a Pu bomb, first to prove that the compact and light Pu bomb would work, and second so they would have a "battle tested" bomb that would fit into a V2 or a V1 just as soon as they acquired the technology.

If you had a ship full of vehicles being imported from, say, China or India, and one of them contained a simple U235 nuke, how would you know?

Re:Garage Nukes (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806919)

The knowledge of how to build one small and light enough to fit on top of a missile is still closely held. That's the key point of this story, that a design was out there which a country with a missile program could use.

Re:Garage Nukes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807223)

While it might be hard for the average person to get their hands on fusible material, how hard is it for underground organizations with huge budgets?

Consider all the unaccountable nuclear material from the former USSR. Don't you think at least some of it is in the wrong hands?

Considering design, it can even be low tech, if three suicide bombers can tolerate huge doses of radiation for a few moments. If I, without an engineering degree, could figure out how to design a 'pipe nuke', I shutter to think of what someone with training could come up with.

The worst part of all this? If a nuke goes off in NYNY before the end of Bush's term, he can become President in perpetuity (read the White House website if you don't believe it). NOW THAT'S SCARY.

Re:Garage Nukes (4, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806937)

That is an often-repeated statement, however there is very little in terms of facts that support it.

Building nukes, especially advanced ones in quantities over a single test weapon still requires (in addition to the plans) a large and relatively modern industrial base -- for the components, for the various explosives, for the wealth of rare materials necessary etc. etc.

Having such an industry USSR style -- for the purpose of nukes only -- is quite expensive, and out of reach of almost any country. Hence you don't see many succeeding, especially when there is resolute opposition from the superpowers to such efforts.

So, no, the nuclear cat isn't quite out of the bag yet, the weapons are out of reach of mostly every state, and those countries who make them profit very little from having them per se.

And, thankfully, nuke-building capability tom-clancy style is so far quite out of reach of any kind of terrorist group.

International forums and inspections as those that exist under the NPT regime are still the most important, effective and relevant way to keep your "nuclear cat" in the bag.

Re:Garage Nukes (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807031)

Back in the 1950's Analog science fiction/science fact had an article on making a nuclear bomb. A key factor was that it would depend on having a suicidal construction crew but it was possible back then (basically dynamite and precision metal casting abilities).

So the real tipping point is getting the fissionable materials... not building a bomb from them.

Re:Garage Nukes (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807081)

"the weapons are out of reach of mostly every state, and those countries who make them profit very little from having them per se"

Funny how India suddenly respected Pakistan when Pakistan demonstrated they could also make nukes.

Re:Garage Nukes (2, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807243)

And your point is? Most of the population in both India and Pakistan still live in poverty despite each of them having the odd atomic bomb, and both countries suffered heavy economic penalties because of their decision to pursue nukes.

Garage nuke ? You probably mean GNUke ! (5, Funny)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807137)

GNUke is an sophisticated and compact nuclear warhead - and more. At its core is are two pieces of piece of sub-critical material that can be combined into a supercritical mass for civil and military use alike.

GNUke is a GNU project which is similar to the Little Boy Bomb which was developed at Manhattan Project Laboratories by J. Robert Oppenheimer and colleagues. It can be considered as a different implementation of Litte Boy. There are some important differences, but much destruction wreaked through Little Boy can be achieved unaltered with GNUke.

One of GNUke's strengths is the ease with which well-produced fission-quality material can be included. Great care has been taken over the defaults for the minor design choices in the nuclear fission process, but the user retains full control.

GNUke blueprints are available as Free Documentation under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU Free Documentation License in source code form. It can easily be set up and functions on a wide variety of launch vehicles and similar systems (including B-29 Superfortresses and ICBMs).

Re:Garage nuke ? You probably mean GNUke ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807225)

Personally, I'm more worried about the possibility of a suitcase nuke designed to fit in a snizz--ie. a SNUKE!

Re:Garage Nukes (5, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807253)

Let's face it, the Nuclear Cat is slowly crawling out of the bag and will no longer be containable soon.

Imagine cleaning up after a nuclear cat...oy...

Seriously, it will happen, and sooner than we think. Either a state-sponsored or aided group stealing a nuke or paying off enough disgruntled Russian scientists and engineers to make a decent one, or some independent cell with a sufficient amount of knowhow and enough reasonably enriched uranium to create a big honkin', crude and ugly, but deadly Hiroshima-style boomer. I'm not as worried about the physical effects -- such a device would, indeed, kill thousands and devastate part of whatever city it's set off in, but is likely for financial and physical reasons to be a one-off event. What scares me is this: if you thought our freedoms have already been eroded, compromised, or plain out negated to an uncomfortable degree after 9/11, just wait until some group sets off a nuke somewhere on U.S. soil. When that happens, prepare to live under the Fourth Reich. Even a so-called "dirty bomb" that would merely spread some radiation around will be sufficiently alarming (the very word "radiation" scares the hell out of the masses) will mean more draconian laws, more intrusive surveillance, and more suspensions of Constitutional rights. But that is the victory terrorists hope for -- it's not so much the actual carnage that they seek, but the subsequent panic and overreaction of the populace and their government. "Terror" consists of far more than a body count.

I, for one, (1)

VocationalZero (1306233) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806799)

welcome our post-apocalyptic... wait, no I don't. Giant scorpions and mutant commando's are so '90s.

Re:I, for one, (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807291)

If it means we get Fallout 3...bring on the nucular weapons!

Well, (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806811)

the server's been nuked.

Re:Well, (1)

zach_d (782013) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807087)

ah c'mon... that's gold there! +1 funny.

Oh, come on, this is secret? (5, Funny)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806819)

They've been on Usenet for ages. That's why Verizon is cutting off access to the binaries.

Re:Oh, come on, this is secret? (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806859)

They've been on Usenet for ages. That's why Verizon is cutting off access to the binaries.

Oh great. It's one thing for terrorists to have nukes, but even scarier for rabid web trolls to own nukes. Emacs vs. vi may be about to ramp it up...
       

Re:Oh, come on, this is secret? (1)

forlornhope (688722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807207)

We all know that emacs has had the ability to create nukes for a while now. Meta-X Ctrl-N Ctrl-N. Then type in where you want it to go and a few minutes later... boom.

NSA, anyone (2, Interesting)

xalorous (883991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806837)

The digital designs, found in heavily encrypted computer files in Switzerland, are believed to be in the possession of the US authorities and of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, but investigators fear they could have been extensively copied and sold to 'rogue' states via the nuclear black market.
US Authorities and heavily encrypted in the same sentence.

Honestly, I think complete designs are probably available out there from U.S., Soviet, and Chinese sources. The main problem with building nuclear devices is getting weapons grade materials.

But you gotta know that the guys in black are sitting around saying, "THAT is why we wanted to control encryption."

Designing the bomb is easy (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807039)

http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/6-24-2003-42105.asp [buzzle.com]

Forty years ago a couple of physics students designed a working A bomb.

Eventually, towards the end of 1966, two and a half years after they began, they were finished. "We produced a short document that described precisely, in engineering terms, what we proposed to build and what materials were involved," says Selden. "The whole works, in great detail, so that this thing could have been made by Joe's Machine Shop downtown."

Agonisingly, though, at the moment they believed they had triumphed, Dobson and Selden were kept in the dark about whether they had succeeded. Instead, for two weeks, the army put them on the lecture circuit, touring them around the upper echelons of Washington, presenting them for cross-questioning at defence and scientific agencies. Their questioners, people with the highest levels of security clearance, were instructed not to ask questions that would reveal secret information. They fell into two camps, Selden says: "One had been holding on to the hope that designing a bomb would be very difficult. The other argued that it was essentially trivial - that a high-school science student could do it in their garage." If the two physics postdocs had pulled it off, their result, it seemed, would fall somewhere between the two - "a straightforward technical problem, but one that involves some rather sophisticated physics".

Finally, after a valedictory presentation at Livermore attended by a grumpy General Edward Teller, they were pulled aside by a senior researcher, Jim Frank. "Jim said, 'I bet you guys want to know how it turned out,'" Dobson recalls. "We said yes. And he told us that if it had been constructed, it would have made a pretty impressive bang." How impressive, they wanted to know. "On the same order of magnitude as Hiroshima," Frank replied.

Re:NSA, anyone (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807113)

"THAT is why we wanted to control encryption."

You're in the wrong game entirely -- we wanted to control encryption to prevent the spread of weapons-grade kiddie porn.

And what are the odds that controlling the use or production of encryption would have any effect outside the US?

All you have to do anyway is put it on a lot of CDs. Get them mailed by a large number of putatively ordinary citizens to other putatively ordinary foreign citizens in various countries. In the umpteen billion pieces of mail allegedly handled by the USPS, at least a few will get through

Let me be the first to say: (5, Funny)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806839)

KHAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!

Re:Let me be the first to say: (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806867)

KHAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!

Even worse in this case:

KHAAAAN OONNEEE!

KHAAAAN TWWWOOO!

KHAAAAN THHHREE! ...
       

Re:Let me be the first to say: (4, Funny)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807035)

You do mean DefKHAAAAAAAN ONE... right?

Re:Let me be the first to say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806913)

Lemme be the first to say I want to kick you in the balls for beating me to it.

Re:Let me be the first to say: (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806985)

BAAAALLLLLLLLS!
   

Decryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806843)

The notable part was the mention of the heavy encryption. Obviously they were able to undo that relatively quickly. I guess the NSA got the quantum computers going at full speed on time.

The second notable part is that President Bush is trying to justify bombing Iran over its civilian nuclear program. Once he is out of office, because of Iraq, Israel will find it harder to use their vehicle AIPAC to corrupt our politicians launch into offensive undeclared wars.

Why is it (3, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806851)

that no version of this story seems to try to point the source of these plans to the US? They probably should be. I can think of no better reason to understand why they found out about it than knowing the source of the material. Color me cynical.

Re:Why is it (4, Informative)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806897)

Probably because the story clearly says that the design in question belongs to Pakistan. All things considered, a Pakistani nuclear scientist would be in a better position to steal his country's secret rather than a US design. As a foreigner in the US he, and his agents, would not be allowed to see anything of that sort, not even close. But in Pakistan he'd be an insider, even if he officially is not involved, and then all kinds of things can be done.

Re:Why is it (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807063)

And.... clearly Iraq had links to Al Queda? Yes, reviewing the video, they clearly did according to "the decider". Yes, the MSM have always done the right thing, never reported what they were told to report. No, that would never happen. Obama and his wife are terrorists, you can tell by they way they shake hands. Bin Laden can't be found because all those terrorist types are tricky, they can hide really good. We can find plans of nuclear weapons, but we can't find Osama?

I know it's comforting to read the news and be able to believe what they say. Marketing droids just love people like you.

Yes, of course, that design belongs to Pakistan because their president signed it, right? Just like the weapons being used against the US troops in Iraq are from Iran.

It's okay, you can thank me later.

Re:Why is it (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807239)

And.... clearly Iraq had links to Al Queda?

A strawman.

I know it's comforting to read the news and be able to believe what they say

There is always a fine line between questioning news and the denial. In this particular instance you are claiming that "David Albright, a physicist, former UN weapons inspector and authority on the nuclear smuggling ring" is lying to the whole world, though other IAEA scientists saw the materials and could expose him. I'd listen to David, though, he just might know about the subject a little more than an average slashdotter. If you insist on using fuzzy logic, fine - David's statement has weight of 0.9999 and your opinion has weight of 0.0001.

We can find plans of nuclear weapons, but we can't find Osama?

Yes, and I am not surprised. Khan's network was captured intact - did you read how much data they got? More than a terabyte of documents. Even if none of that is encrypted it takes an army of specialists and linguists to go through them, which is probably what happened. On the other hand, Osama was never captured. I'd be amazed if, for example, the US Army captures a large building and Osama keeps running and hiding *inside* of that building. But Osama - if he is still alive, of course - hides somewhere on Earth, and even if he is merely in Pakistan it's plain impossible to find him, considering that a good deal of Pakistani land is not under control of the central government.

May I be the first to say.. (3, Interesting)

wanax (46819) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806875)

Who cares? As a New Yorker, who's HS (Stuyvesant) was in the drop zone of 9/11, and who's dad along with several others decided to continue thesis defenses as the towers burned because if you change you life, the terrorists win... I say let them come. Even with nukes. I'll take the chance. My parents will take the chance. I don't really care who gets Nucs these days because MAD works, to such an extent that NK and Iran etc, will think twice before exporting working nukes. Because if a nuke built in Iran goes off in the US, Iran will cease to exist, and they know it.

I have no solution, but to think that this is a major issue is not to understand politics.

MAD is Dead (0, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806917)

I don't really care who gets Nucs these days because MAD works, ... if a nuke built in Iran goes off in the US, Iran will cease to exist, and they know it.

We can't say this anymore because now it involves religious fanaticism. As evil as the Soviet Union was, at least they valued life more than their dogma. We cannot say the same about the Iran Red Button. They may see it as the Instant-71-Virgin Button.
   

Re:MAD is Dead (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806983)

Iran, now, is it? Jesus, you buy the american propaganda hook, line and sinker.

Re:MAD is Dead (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807025)

It may be the case that the "top brass" in Iran doesn't want to end the world because they have plenty of babes and power in this life (gotta love polygamy). But, as nuke technology leaks to smaller players, weirdos and mad-men will have more influence. And even leaders may be mad. Hitler, for example, played for all-or-nothing (ending up with nothing, luckily). As more countries have nukes, there is more chance for the irrational to be in charge, be it gamblers or religious nuts.
             

Re:MAD is Dead (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807287)

And even leaders may be mad. Hitler, for example, played for all-or-nothing (ending up with nothing, luckily).
Hitler stood a chance, more than a chance. The Axis damn near conquered all of Europe, and if he'd either finished the battle for Britain or not gone after Russia he would probably have won. The German war machine was completely unsurpassed and it was only a massive alliance that overpowered them. Sure he was mad with power, but not the level of "let's try to nuke the US from a banana republic" kind of mad.

Re:MAD is Dead (1)

SandmanWAIX (674838) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807033)

We cannot say the same about the Iran Red Button. They may see it as the Instant-71-Virgin Button.
I touch mine every night :)

Re:MAD is Dead (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807169)

[Instant-71-Virgin Button.] I touch mine every night

Maybe what the world needs is a religion based on masturbation. They've tried volcanoes, funny underwear, pork, and lightning bolts; but never one based on The Holy Yanker. It may bring about world piece for once. You don't have to subjugate or kill others to please a deity. (However, it may be all ruined by the Lorraine Bobbit aliens.)
           

Re:MAD is Dead (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807141)

The people in power are not so stupid as to believe in the Instant-71-virgin button.

Seriously, if they are wily / crafty/ smart enough to get in the position to make a decision on whether to push the Nuke Red Button, they are smart enough to realize that religion is BS and that they only use it to gain power.

In essence, the people in power have EVERYTHING to lose.. they are the ones who enjoy living well in Iran.

The people blowing themselves up, on the other hand, are poor and powerless, and kamikaze is their only way "out" -- as is their belief in their religion.

Re:MAD is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807161)

It's 72 virgins, you insensitive clod!

Re:MAD is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807181)

72 virgins.

Re:MAD is Dead (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807193)

Well, yea, they do believe that 71 virgin thing. But do they really? I mean, most suicide bombers are poor fellas, with little/nothing to lose. When was the last time you've seen a high ranking Ayatollah/Iranian Office Holder pull the string on the 40kg of C4 under his suit and blow himself up?

When their OWN skin is involved, they'd rather not run the risk of being stood up by the 2 angels that are supposed to descend from heaven upon their martyrdom's completion. :-)

Re:MAD is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807199)

>They may see it as the Instant-71-Virgin Button.
Do you promote (similarly) the instant rapture button? Don't swallow the major media's "the terrorists are crazy" hogwash. That's a convenient excuse.

Re:MAD is Dead (1)

paulgrant (592593) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807271)

Lord if you honestly think that Iran views the nuke as anything but protection from a saber-rattling US, then you my friend, are seriously delusional.

Wake up and smell the falafel. Todays enemy is tomorrows friend (provided they get the nuke).

Course your price for oil may go up. But look on the bright side - it costs far more to invade than it does to pay for the oil up-front.

Re:MAD is Dead (1)

getuid() (1305889) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807277)

I don't quite agree.

We can't say this anymore because now it involves religious fanaticism. As evil as the Soviet Union was, at least they valued life more than their dogma. We cannot say the same about the Iran Red Button. They may see it as the Instant-71-Virgin Button.
Yes, that's what they say, but I doubt that. You know, there's the religious fanatics on the one hand -- susceptible to all kinds of suggestions regarding 70+ virgins, Allah etc. And then there's those hungry for power, instrumentalizing bad knowledge, poor education and fanatism of the masses for their purposes. They're hungry for power for a reason... we may not know the reason, but bigger chances are that that reason is rather bound to this world rather than to the next :-) And it's those who have the power who get to push the button... So, basically, I think parent's right.

Nukes and Iran... (1)

sasha328 (203458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806973)

Why is it that whenever Nukes and black market is mentioned, Iran gets a mentioned but some dodgy US allies don't?
The powers that be in the US seem hell bent on describing Iran as a rogue state or worse and "evil" state. They continuously ignore the fact that it was a US ally who started all this Nuclear Weapons Export business. After all, it was the Pakistanis who sold the tech to other countries.

From my experience, Iran is less of a threat than Pakistan. You see, Iran is big on hype and words and gesturing. Pakistan on the other hand is fueling the growth of radical Islam all over the place. Check with the British about their bombers.

Re:Nukes and Iran... (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807125)

And let's not forget the country with the 200 nuclear warheads that officially does not have nukes...

Re:May I be the first to say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806981)


Nuking the crap out of Iran would be a pretty fucked up thing to do, even if they did somehow manage to nuke the US. Most people in Iran endorse their government as much as you do.

Re:May I be the first to say.. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807053)

Nuking the crap out of Iran would be a pretty fucked up thing to do, even if they did somehow manage to nuke the US. Most people in Iran endorse their government as much as you do.

Most likely it would be their infrastructure that is targeted, and perhaps much of it with conventional weapons. You don't need nukes to take out water and power. Then again, it may depend on how revengeful the president feels at the time.
         

Re:May I be the first to say.. (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806989)

Mutually Assured Destruction may work when you are fighting an enemy who owns something you can destroy. The USA and the Soviet Union had a lot to lose by a nuclear war, so they would have been crazy to start one. Garage nukes are another matter. Joe Terrorist doesn't run a country. Which country will you threaten to destroy to prevent Joe Terrorist from attacking you?

Re:May I be the first to say.. (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807083)

*raises hand meekly*

Joeistan? Is Joe Terrorist just Joe Blow after he converted is Islam?

Re:May I be the first to say.. (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807151)

Which country will you threaten to destroy
And THAT will prevent there ever be another terrorist?

Re:May I be the first to say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807047)

That show how your really understand Islam and Iran. Ahmadinejad is a Shiite muslim and he believes in the return of the 12th imam, Imam Mahdi.

Ahmadinejad then made a connection between Jesus (ed: Islamic version of Jesus) and the Imam Mahdi, believed by Shiites to have disappeared as a child in A.D. 941. When the Mahdi returns, they contend, he will reign on earth for seven years before bringing about a final judgment and the end of the world.

"All I want to say is that the age of hardship, threat and spite will come to an end someday and, God willing, Jesus would return to the world along with the emergence of the descendant of the Islam's holy prophet, Imam Mahdi, and wipe away every tinge of oppression, pain and agony from the face of the world," Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad has been urging Iranians to prepare for the coming of the Mahdi by turning the country into a powerful and advanced Islamic society and by avoiding the corruption and excesses of the West.

He sees his main mission, as he recounted in a Nov. 16, 2005, speech in Tehran, as to "pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance (emphasis mine)." (from WND [wnd.com] )
Hastening the reappearance of the Mahdi means getting ready for the judgement day or armageddon. How is Mutually Assured Destruction prevent someone who wants the end of days from pressing the red button?

Brute force, yes. But not in IT terms. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806885)

Nope. It probably means it took them 1-2 years of torture to get the keys. If the encryption was any good, they would have had to be _extremely_ lucky.

Heavy encryption? (1)

insecuritiez (606865) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806899)

...found in heavily encrypted computer files...

What does this mean anyways? Clearly is must have been weak encryption if they got access to the data. Or did they get access to the keys? I'm tired of seeing terms like military-grade or heavy when it come to encryption.

The media is very bad about making encryption out to be some evil technology only used by terrorist and child pornographers. A few wording changes would fix this. "Encryption" is the new "hacker".

Re:Heavy encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806943)

I doubt if the person who wrote this article did anything more than parrot what their source told them about the so-called 'heavy encryption.' I seriously doubt that any significant level of detail concerning exactly what type of encryption the smugglers were using or how it was cracked will ever be released to the public.

Sheesh (0, Redundant)

amdpox (1308283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806915)

Is it really that hard to build a nuke? Seriously, plutonium, compression shell (beryllium or something), high explosives, kaboom.

Re:Sheesh (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806969)

Is it really that hard to build a nuke? Seriously, plutonium, compression shell (beryllium or something), high explosives, kaboom.

They're like Rubix Cubes for rogue nations: let's see who can solve one in the fewest steps.
     

Re:Sheesh (3, Interesting)

bitrex (859228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807029)

I am not an engineer, but as I understand it one of the more difficult engineering challenges of designing an implosion type device is getting the arrangement of the explosive lenses just right to compress the plutonium pit into a critical mass symmetrically. Just wrapping the pit in a plain sphere of explosives won't do the job - there will be parts of the explosive that will fire later than others and the compression will be non-symmetric. If the implosion is non-symmetric, the fission primary will fling itself apart before substantial energy from the chain reaction can be generated.

Another design challenge is the electronics needed to fire all the explosive lenses with timing tolerances of less than a few millionths of a second, and switching devices that can switch hundreds of amps of current at those speeds. Needless to say, manufacturers do their best to control who gets their hands on them, though they are "dual use" and probably could be sourced indirectly.

Of course a gun type weapon would be substantially easier to get to work with wider tolerances than an implosion type, but they are so inefficient that they require a relatively huge amount of fissile material to make; perhaps an impractically large amount for a terrorist group to get their hands on without being easily noticed.

Re:Sheesh (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807101)

What about yellow cake? I was to understand that there'd be yellow cake and some kind of tube to be served at this jihad?

Re:Sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807133)

The cake is a lie!

No links to the plans? (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806931)

Hey! Where is the link to the plans? Maybe someone can post it on Freenet.

Re:No links to the plans? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807229)

Hey! Where is the link to the plans? Maybe someone can post it on Freenet.
If you're a Verizon customer, just go to alt.plans.nuclear... oh wait.

Oh Crap! (5, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806959)

The digital designs, found in heavily encrypted computer files in Switzerland, are believed to be in the possession of the US authorities
Great! They're the last people we need to have even more nuclear weapons.

Re:Oh Crap! (3, Insightful)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806999)

I joke, of course.

But it's worth looking at another way of describing our wonderful nation which is, of course, completely "right" because it's "us" not some other "bad guys":

Do we really want a country that's... invaded two other nations in the last decade (at times against the UN's will); set off civil wars in other nations; ignores the Geneva Convention when it doesn't suit it; has a long history of providing arms to nations/factions it later fights (Vietnamese during WWII, Taleban against the Russians, F-14s and nuclear plants to pre-revolutionary Iran, "We know they have WMDs, we still have the receipts" for Iraq); best of all, was one half of the nuclear arms race that was the greatest threat to all life on our planet for the last sixty years; and finally a nation that's stated its intent to ignore weapons treaties and start testing a new breed of tactical nukes... to have more nuclear plans?

Re:Oh Crap! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807079)

[...Switzerland, are believed to be in the possession of the US authorities] Great! They're the last people we need to have even more nuclear weapons.

Their cheese makes the perfect delivery mechanism: plenty of holes to hide things.
     

A blessing in disguise (1)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806965)

At least they get to leverage this to force mandatory border checks of our laptops for "intellectual" property.

Plans (1)

localman (111171) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807041)

I thought that designing nuclear weapons was relatively easy -- gun type [wikipedia.org] , at least. I thought the hard part was gathering and enriching the uranium in large enough quantities. It's not so much a knowledge limitation as a means limitation? How important are "plans" when you can pull a Hiroshima level explosion with relatively basic tech? It doesn't need to be the most efficient weapon. I'd be more worried about theft of weapons grade radioactive materials.

But what do I know... I just read Wikipedia a lot :)

Computing power (1)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807057)

I can only hope the NSA's computing power should be capable of breaking such a thing's encryption within a time scale a tad shorter than 1-2 years :-(

Re:Computing power (1)

Keys1337 (1002612) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807285)

Thank you. If we could only get more people to hope like you, all our technological problems would be solved.

99% conjecture and old info, 1% news (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807067)

After reading the article, I'm left with the impression that the only "news" - witht he emphasis on the new is that someone has found some encrypted files in Switzerland.

Once you cut through all the emotional stuff, used to build up a story and instill FUD into the readership (phrases like "heavily" encrypted - I should hope so; "sophisticated" - well yes, they're nukes, "rogue states" etc.) you're not left with much.

After the actual story, the author merely pulls out all the old files to remind us of all the old scare stories they've run in the past.

The real clincher is that this isn't actually news at all. These documents were found in 2006. Forget the 1% news, it's actually no news at all!

Why (4, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807095)

"Given that Khan's revelations were made in early 2004, does that mean it took the IAEA 1-2 years to brute-force the encryption?"
No, it just means that it is now time to stir up people's fear of "international terrorism" so whichever government let this bit of news out can squeeze through yet another draconian security measure.

Why am I not surprised? (3, Insightful)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807123)

Encryption: Bad
Laptop searches at the border: good
reason: TERRERISTS!!!
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!!!
THE AXIS OF EVIL!!!

let me guess once, what laws will soon be proposed (which will by the way legalize some more of the unconstitutional actions of the bush-regime...)

Wikileaks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807219)

How soon before wikileaks posts those nuke blueprints?

They already posted the "secret" status JDAM service manual and the F-15C engine start manual (so you can defect with a south korean or japanese Eagle to China/Russia/DPRK after a bit of training in M$ Flight Simulator 2002). There is also an F/A-18 pocket guide for scouts up there and a document about the acoustic sniper-locating "xmas tree", which yankee Hummers use in Iraq to protect servicemen.

A DIY nuke would be a nice rounding off to the collection, dear stupid anarchists thank you very much for aiding in the destruction of free world and democracy, under the pretense of defending free speech!

Speed of Government work.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807263)

"Given that Khan's revelations were made in early 2004, does that mean it took the IAEA 1-2 years to brute-force the encryption?"

No, it probably means that there was enough information in clear on the machines, and it took two years for the investigators to pick through several terrabytes of data and come up with their report.

If you think about it, you wouldn't want to put lots of people onto a sensitive thing like this to speed it up, would you?

Amyway, I'm happy to see that information wants to be free. Perhaps this could be the first 'open source' warhead design....?

and in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23807265)

killer bees!

Closer than you think? (1)

Mick Malkemus (1281196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807289)

While it might be hard for the average person to get their hands on fusible material, how hard is it for underground organizations with huge budgets? Consider all the unaccountable nuclear material from the former USSR. At least some of it is in the wrong hands. Considering design, it can be low tech. If three suicide bombers can tolerate huge doses of radiation for a few moments, it is not a problem to make. If I, without an engineering degree, could figure out how to design a low tech 'pipe nuke', I shutter to think of what someone with training could come up with. The worst part of all this? If a nuke goes off in NY NY before the end of Bush's term, he can become President in perpetuity (read the White House website if you don't believe it). NOW THAT'S SCARY.

Encryption key (3, Funny)

TummyX (84871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23807311)


Given that Khan's revelations were made in early 2004, does that mean it took the IAEA 1-2 years to brute-force the encryption?


The IAEA were pretty pissed when they found out that the key was 0xDEADBEEF
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