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Stuxnet Was Designed To Subtly Interfere With Uranium Enrichment

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the well-thank-god-it-didn't-infect-my-pc dept.

Security 334

ceswiedler writes "Wired is reporting that the Stuxnet worm was apparently designed to subtly interfere with uranium enrichment by periodically speeding or slowing specific frequency converter drives spinning between 807Hz and 1210Hz. The goal was not to cause a major malfunction (which would be quickly noticed), but rather to degrade the quality of the enriched uranium to the point where much of it wouldn't be useful in atomic weapons. Statistics from 2009 show that the number of enriched centrifuges operational in Iran mysteriously declined from about 4,700 to about 3,900 at around the time the worm was spreading in Iran."

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It's early in the morning (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240132)

First Post! Stuxnet ain't messing with meeeee.

The problem with computer sabotage... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240134)

..is that you leave one hell of a forensic trail, and so lose the inevitable propaganda war that follows your activities....

Having said that, I still welcome our variable but rapidly spinning overlords...

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (1, Insightful)

azalin (67640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240204)

Nice idea though. The implementation on the other hand is as stupid and short sighted as can possibly be.

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (1)

Noam.of.Doom (934040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240226)

What would've you done differently?

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (2, Insightful)

azalin (67640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240264)

Either make sure it doesn't spread to place where people would notice or have so many possibly targets it can't be traced to one specific mission.

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (3, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240450)

1) You can't write a virus that will spread only along the specific route that leads to a target, and even if you could that doesn't guarantee it wouldn't get noticed.

2) You can't write a virus that targets so many industrial systems that the one you're really targeting gets lost among the others, for economical, ethical and practical reasons.

3) Why would they care about the public finding out? They were very careful to make sure it wasn't found for as long as possible, but once the Iranians know about it why would they care who else knows about it?

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240830)

"...3) Why would they care about the public finding out? They were very careful to make sure it wasn't found for as long as possible, but once the Iranians know about it why would they care who else knows about it?..."

Because international affairs are NOT like a Hollywood action film, where the hero blows the villain up in the last 15 minutes of action, and then rides off happily into the sunset with the girl. In real life actions have results. Look at the state the US got into on the international scene when all the stories about deception and torture in Iraq started coming out. Don't you think that the Iranians will present this as an act of war, and use it in every diplomatic conference for the next 20 years?

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240304)

What would've you done differently?

I don't know what the OP would have done differently. But the virus writers should have taken into account Stuxnet breaking out into the wild, given the bad situation with Windows and security (expecially in the industrial context, sadly).

So assuming they didn't want the ting to be discovered, a better decoupling between vector (the Windows infecting component) and payload (the SCADA manipulating part) would have been prudent.

Maybe they didn't mind being discovered (or maybe being discovered is part of the plan).

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (3, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240410)

Installed IE6 in the process. THAT WOULD HAD SHOWN THEM!

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240726)

What would've you done differently?

Oh, how about sitting down and just talking with them?

Maybe we could do something, get something accomplished.

Like, say, peace in our time.

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240798)

yeah, that'll work. After all we think they are crazy, they think we are crazy. They won't agree to "meet in the middle" - they want us to "appease" them. We apparently want them to not try to blow people in other countries up. Not very likely to get anywhere positive from "talking". We've talked for years.

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (1, Flamebait)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240762)

is as stupid and short sighted as can possibly be.

No problem. It's just US foreign policy as usual.

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240298)

can i haz stuxnet? [nyte.com]

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240676)

..is that you leave one hell of a forensic trail, and so lose the inevitable propaganda war that follows your activities....

That's not a drawback, it's an opportunity. You make it look like it was someone else, and then you win.

Re:The problem with computer sabotage... (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240692)

What are you talking about? The problem with computer network attacks is that they don't leave much usable evidence; or at least we have no ways of using the evidence they leave. It's often referred to as the attribution problem.

Resources, will, and motive (-1, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240140)

There are only two nations with the resources, will, and motive to attack Iran's nuclear ambitions in this way: America and Israel.

It figures that hegemony would lead either state to such an antagonistic stance.

I'm putting my money on Pakistan (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240160)

Why not? They know they'll never get the blame.

Lies, damn lies and speculation.

Re:I'm putting my money on Pakistan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240228)

I came here to say the US of A

Every country, and a lot of corps could do this (3, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240628)

The sad thing is just about every country has the resources to do this. Siemens is based in Belgium too, so why couldn't it be Belgium ? I wonder what kinds of problems even a country like Luxenbourg would encounter in doing this. All it takes is budget, hiring a few capable Siemens engineers and throwing a few millions at it. Hell, a lot of publicly traded companies could do this by themselves.

So at the very least, every single country could do it. It would probably be the easiest to do for Iran itself, having obviously maximum access to the systems to be sabotaged, and then they'd blame the enemy "du jour", mostly America, protestors, or Israel, or women, gays (I forgot: gays don't exist in Iran, except of course on pictures of their execution), or ...

At the very least, add it to your list of likely candidates : America, Israel, Iran, and all other nations permanently on the security council : China, Russia, France, UK. These countries all have policy that military intervention (even if very low-level at the moment) is justified to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And Iran itself, is genocidally insane and obsessed with their, equally genocidal, religion. Additionally Iran's government is very, very afraid of losing power. So afraid, that they marched several hundred thousand children into minefields to prevent it (google "plastic key to heaven"), just 20 years ago.

Frankly, more people should sabotage countries like Iran, or all muslim countries in general, for the simple reason that their handling of minorities can only be described as "genocidal". If we are to have any pretense of actually opposing racism, attacking countries with racist laws, and even attacking religions with racist laws, should be standard policy. Of course, for American politicians "racism" is just a meaningless 6-letter word that you shout at whatever political opponents you have to get special treatment for "special" racial groups.

Say, special treatment depending on race, wasn't that the definition of racism just 10 years back ? It still is, of course, the definition of racism, but now democrats and republicans claim words have no meaning and we should help the "poor victims". Apparently, we should help "them" through becoming more racist.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (5, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240178)

There are only two nations with the resources, will, and motive to attack Iran's nuclear ambitions in this way: America and Israel.

It figures that hegemony would lead either state to such an antagonistic stance.

While I agree that they are teh most likely candidates, I think Russia and China would be quite capable of doing this too if they turned their mind to it. Probably the UK, France, Gremany and maybe India. All have both nuclear and computer technology

Re:Resources, will, and motive (2, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240260)

I'm pretty sure there are others that have the capability as well.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240574)

What exactly seems to be so difficult in understanding the words "will and motive"?

Re:Resources, will, and motive (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240636)

It is not difficult to understand the words "will or motive". What is difficult is understanding what the motive and will is of every county/faction in the world that is capable of somthing like this. Are you saying you understand the movtive of ecery faction in China?

Re:Resources, will, and motive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240766)

Just an explanatory note: moderated "troll" for unnecessary aggression and rudeness. Hope the explanation helps you to understand how you can improve your posts to avoid this problem in future.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (5, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240402)

It's equally likely neither Russia nor China would be very happy to see a nuclear Iran, but not want to be visibly seen discouraging them on the international stage. Stuxnet, lets either of them slow Iran's nuclear program, test a new concept of warfare, and leave the US and Israel holding the bad as "most likely." For them it's a win-win-win. Beyond that, intelligence orgainizations in the West now have a small taste of what someone else can do. It's going to keep the West in knots for a few years, hardening against "the last threat," while they've got the next threat now, and are working on the one beyond that.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (5, Informative)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240496)

I concur,
Also note that whoever wrote the virus had very specific knowledge of the target.
It would only act if more than 33 devices of one of two manufacturers were linked to one controller.
It would act one way if the majority of the devices were from one manufacturer and do something else if there were from the other kind.
I would guess that someone that worked there or someone that supplied parts to the project had a major hand in this.
My guess would be that this is at least to some extent an inside job.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240554)

hmmmmm but with this episode you risk an escalation between Iran and Israel/US, which may move. And then you have to come to the defense of Iran or lose even that country to westerners. And then you have problem with westerners.

Unless of course you have a plan like this: you have everything blowing up and stupid sheep dies while the powerful have their bunkers with their seeds and their patents, their anti radiation therapy, some years later they come out as gods for the cavemen that somehow survived.
A pretty good strategy, but it's a global one, and if you're so powerful to pull something like this, then russia iran china israel and usa are simply different colors on a map.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1, Interesting)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240578)

It's equally likely neither Russia nor China would be very happy to see a nuclear Iran, but not want to be visibly seen discouraging them on the international stage. Stuxnet, lets either of them slow Iran's nuclear program, test a new concept of warfare, and leave the US and Israel holding the bad as "most likely." For them it's a win-win-win. Beyond that, intelligence orgainizations in the West now have a small taste of what someone else can do. It's going to keep the West in knots for a few years, hardening against "the last threat," while they've got the next threat now, and are working on the one beyond that.

i don't think russia cares, seeing as it helped get it working.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushehr_Nuclear_Power_Plant [wikipedia.org]

Re:Resources, will, and motive (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240690)

It's going to keep the West in knots for a few years, hardening against "the last threat," while they've got the next threat now, and are working on the one beyond that.

You know, people always say that, but what happens if you don't harden against the last threat? It gets used on you again, that's what. Just because if was the last threat doesn't mean that a bad guy isn't going to contemplate using it, should he see the vulnerability. Just because ID thefts over the internet are a fashionable new crime doesn't mean that locking your door when you leave your house is now pointless.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240784)

I vote for Iceland. They would like to embarrass Iran for giving I-countries such a bad name, during an era when I-anything sells like, well, ipods. Iceland don't want to tip anybody off to their Dr Evil-like powers.

Iceland wrote the malware, then re-implemented it to look like russian code disguised as israeli-american viruses and dispatched it under cover of the last volcanic cycle. Crafty bastards.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240180)

What about Britain? MI6 gets no love? Germany? France?

Re:Resources, will, and motive (5, Funny)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240288)

Budget cuts in Britain would put a stop to that sort of thing. We can't even get a James Bond film off the ground with American money!

Re:Resources, will, and motive (2, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240370)

Thank God, if it keeps Daniel Craig off the screen. I think I'd much rather we spent our money on viruses than an actor so wooden that he must worry about termites.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240708)

He's a "gritty reboot" James Bond, he's supposed to be wooden! :P

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1, Funny)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240458)

In Britain it would not get off the ground due to bureaucracy, in Germany it would cause endless voting and opting out a-la google streetview and given France's military history they would probably end up infecting their own systems and losing control. Then, they would surrender to themselves.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (2, Informative)

Anne Honime (828246) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240182)

Don't forget the Russian federation, which have a huge interest in selling enriched uranium they produce already.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240468)

Uranium enriched to levels needed for use in power-plants is really cheap (much cheaper than coal per unit of energy it contains, it's just the nuclear plant that's very expensive).

And it's not like Stuxnet was ever going to make Iran give up on enriching uranium and decide to buy from Russia anyway.

BS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240184)

I disagree. It is obvious that America and Israel have the motive, so I think others are taking advantage of this situation.It could be the Russians trying to trigger another arms race in the area... They do have a good track record with malware right?

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240622)

Of course the US and Israel may also think that being the obvious fall guy is the perfect opportunity for the double bluff. Commit the act then claim on the global stage that you'd never be stupid enough to commit the act because everyone would instantly point the finger.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (3, Insightful)

silanea (1241518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240194)

I would not rule out Russia or China. Both have no interest in a strong Iran but every interest in an Iran that appears strong, since this ties and diverts US and Israeli attention and resources. It also sets a "benchmark" of aggression; as long as esp. China is less of a threat that Iran it can get away with quite a lot, barely noticed. A perceived Iranian nuclear threat can then also serve as justification for building missile defense systems and implementing other military measures that would previously have set off tensions with the Western nuclear powers.

A simple case of cui bono?.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240218)

i would rule out russia - because russians were involved in building Busher's nuclear power plant, and they'd have no interest sabotaging something they are responsible to complete by the contract terms...

Re:Resources, will, and motive (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240266)

i would rule out russia - because russians were involved in building Busher's nuclear power plant, and they'd have no interest sabotaging something they are responsible to complete by the contract terms...

But according to TFA, the target wasn't Bushehr's nuclear power plant, but the Natanz nuclear facilities. Unless Russia was involved there, too, that makes your argument moot.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240480)

"Symantec still has not determined what specific facility or type of facility Stuxnet targeted, but the new information lends weight to speculation that Stuxnet was targeting the Bushehr or Natanz nuclear facilities in Iran as a means to sabotage Iran’s nascent nuclear program. "

Re:Resources, will, and motive (3, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240394)

[Hypothetical Russian Contractor]:"Well, this Stuxnet worm is nasty stuff, so obviously it's going to cost a lot of money for us to clean it up. Of course, an event like this was not covered in our contract so we will need additional funding to proceed."

Yeah, what motivation could Russia possibly have?

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1, Troll)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240476)

[Hypothetical Russian Contractor]:"Well, this styrofoam someone threw in the reactor 3 months before launch is nasty stuff, and will cost a lot of your precious Iranian dollars to fix. (Thank goodness we thought of that before we wrote the most complex worm ever written. With the Iranian maintenance and repair fees Russia can finally conquer the world!)"

Re:Resources, will, and motive (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240436)

Actually I would suspect Russia. They are the ones who loses out selling iran nuclear fuel when iran produces it's own.

Combine that with the fact that someone had to get detailed information about what hardware was present at those plants and the USA, isn't really welcomed there. Don't forget that Russia has lots of hackers, and whomever just test fired a weaponized hack.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (5, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240562)

I would not rule out Russia or China. Both have no interest in a strong Iran but every interest in an Iran that appears strong, since this ties and diverts US and Israeli attention and resources. It also sets a "benchmark" of aggression; as long as esp. China is less of a threat that Iran it can get away with quite a lot, barely noticed. A perceived Iranian nuclear threat can then also serve as justification for building missile defense systems and implementing other military measures that would previously have set off tensions with the Western nuclear powers.

A simple case of cui bono?.

Ugh.. This assumes that

  • Intelligence agencies will ignore other superpowers because they are distracted by Iran,
  • That continuing to enrich uranium is somehow more aggressive than ships sunk by North Korea, hostages taken by Somalian pirates, economic wars by China over a prisoner taken by Japan from a disputed island, etc, etc, etc
  • That Russia or China are smart enough to set this intricate double-trap just so that they can raise the "benchmark of aggression" but that other powers aren't smart enough to just continue to monitor other powers as always,
  • That China and Russia are secretly using Iran as a reason to build controversial missile defense systems when until recently that's exactly what the US was going do openly,
  • And that by launching this attack they are somehow keeping Iran weak while it still looks strong, when Iran's enrichment facilities are the subject of such intense scrutiny that when the attack occurred the "weakening" of Iran was apparent long before anyone in the public even knew of the attack

I am just at a loss.. It really is like each response after the next is competing to think of a more convoluted, absurd way that someone you don't suspect could be involved in it.
I fully expect to scroll down and see some justification for why it's internal industrial sabotage of one Siemens subdivision versus another, or Iran launching it against themselves to get international sympathy.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (4, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240674)

"It really is like each response after the next is competing to think of a more convoluted, absurd way that someone you don't suspect could be involved in it."

It was Boris in the library with a commodore 64.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (2, Insightful)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240746)

someone you don't suspect could be involved in it.

like the spanish inquis..... nevermind, im above that

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240200)

And a few thousand private lunatics at least.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240242)

Is there any proof that the virus indeed runs on the facility? Is there any proof that the nuclear incident really did take place? Is there any proof that the number of operational centrifuges really went down (as opposed to e.g. bringing the "defect" centrifuges to a secret place, so even if the original place was physically attacked, they could continue with enrichment)?

Maybe it was the Iranian intelligence which created StuxNet (and in that case probably also a special protection system making sure it never hits its "target") in order to make everyone in the world think they are far behind in their nuclear program (and to have a plausible explanation for the reduction of operational centrifuges, so no one gets the idea to look for them elsewhere)?

Re:Resources, will, and motive (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240308)

Is there any proof that the virus indeed runs on the facility? Is there any proof that the nuclear incident really did take place? Is there any proof that the number of operational centrifuges really went down (as opposed to e.g. bringing the "defect" centrifuges to a secret place, so even if the original place was physically attacked, they could continue with enrichment)?

Maybe it was the Iranian intelligence which created StuxNet (and in that case probably also a special protection system making sure it never hits its "target") in order to make everyone in the world think they are far behind in their nuclear program (and to have a plausible explanation for the reduction of operational centrifuges, so no one gets the idea to look for them elsewhere)?

And maybe George Bush ordered the 9/11 attacks...

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240324)

For the 9/11 attacks, there's proof that actual damage has been done. For Stuxnet, that's exactly what I asked: Is there any (provably non-faked) proof of actual damage?

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240246)

I doubt that you would really need that many resources to do something like this. Small team of programmers, some documentation, access to a test machine and a few guys figuring out how to deploy it without the whole world noticing and trying to find out what is going on. I'd guess most cs/engineering departments could deliver something like this in less than 6 weeks. On the other hand they probably wouldn't stupid enough to make their intentions that obvious. You need either bureaucrats or hobbyists for that.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240294)

But the specificity means you need a lot of information about your target. You must know what the targeted facility looks like, and what can be used to distinguish it from other facilities. So the question is: Who did have that information at the time Stuxnet was written?

Re:Resources, will, and motive (5, Informative)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240438)

I doubt that you would really need that many resources to do something like this.

Aside from the problem that maxwell demon points out with the huge amount of secret internal information required, the attackers also obtained and used several zero-day vulnerabilities and driver signing certificates from two different hardware manufacturers. That's hardly trivial.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240466)

it's hard yes and needs you to have the right connections, but it's hardly something that is much in the way of 'resources' - money or materials isn't the key there.

I'd look for someone who worked in the supply chain and was unhappy about what he was involved with. that would've been the safest route for the attacker too, to not get others involved.

Iran did it (2, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240272)

Their experimental uranium enrichment wasn't working as expected, so the scientists invented this virus in order to shift the blame.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240274)

Don't make me laugh. It does take a budget to launch such an attack, but a small one, probably in the 500k - 1M range (2 zero day to buy and one stolen certificate + a few days of development). There are thousands of organizations with that much resources, and Iran isn't loved by many people.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240378)

hard part would be to actually know what to target and for that you'd need to have some understanding of what technology they're using in iran. pretty deep understanding as it turns out.

I don't think this was bought with 'just money', before even thinking up the original idea for this you'd already would have had to be somehow in the know what they've based their plant automation on.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240296)

You forgot to mention the nations which would profit if America or Israel were blamed.

A fake attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would be great stuff for propaganda.

Resources??? Like.. a laptop??? (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240302)

I am with you on the will and motive part, but the "resources" it takes to make a virus like this and unleash it into the wild in the middle east is probably $20K-$100K tops.

Even if you wanted to TEST it, you don't need nuclear weapons to do so, all you need is access to enrichment equipment, which most countries that have nuclear plants have. Basically any country in the Western would could have done this, so could India, Japan, Pakistan, AU, Brazil, the list goes on and on.

But like you said, only Israel and the US would actually want to do this.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240610)

There are only two nations with the resources, will, and motive to attack Iran's nuclear ambitions in this way: America and Israel.

It figures that hegemony would lead either state to such an antagonistic stance.

You forgot all or Europe, India, and much of the Arab world. Very few want to see a nuclear Iran. For that matter no one wants to see any country in that area of the world become a nuclear power. The US and Israel are the only ones who are not too pansy to say anything about it.

Re:Resources, will, and motive (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240772)

Yep, it would certainly be a good thing if the U.S. and Israel stopped trying to stop Iran from building a bomb so the rest of the mid-east and s. asia can get on with the job of arming themselves with nuclear weapons. They have very stable societies and well-adjusted governments.

"sophisticated" ... oh yeah (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240154)

Yes, we all believe it, western and/or israeli intelligence are so advanced and subtle to make a virus that reduces the quality of the enrichment. Wow, what an achievement!!

Looks like these intelligence services are so desperate to have some 'success' stories and coverage of their awesomeness in the press that they are inventing stories about a malware.

Really, everyone in Iran is worried about sneaky malwares now.

Re:"sophisticated" ... oh yeah (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240400)

Yes, we all believe it, western and/or israeli intelligence are so advanced and subtle to make a virus that reduces the quality of the enrichment. Wow, what an achievement!!

Looks like these intelligence services are so desperate to have some 'success' stories and coverage of their awesomeness in the press that they are inventing stories about a malware.

Really, everyone in Iran is worried about sneaky malwares now.

Coverage of any kind is sort of against the mission statement of an intelligence agency, wouldn't you say?

Well that just leaves one question (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240158)

Well that just leaves one question: Was it the Jews or the Yanks?

Re:Well that just leaves one question (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240176)

Who cares? At least this kind of thing is bloodless. Not like a country which says it's neighbor has no right to exist and then goes and builds nukes...

Re:Well that just leaves one question (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240256)

Who cares? At least this kind of thing is bloodless ...
We know this code is safe running on MS?
We know some overrun or faulty system or version beta hack wont be seen by the next version of this code as the target?
Why should 'some' countries get to flood the world with factory/system destroying code?
In the cold war every country backed by the KGB and CIA got to send out 'gifts' to troublesome exiles.
Why should we risk massive disruptions on MS quality code and some states skills to write "bloodless" malware?
Like anything done in dark places, expose, name, shame.

Re:Well that just leaves one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240440)

iranian speech translated by israeli memri* to english
no proof of nukes found only FUD

*liars

Re:Well that just leaves one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240826)

What, you mean like Israel?

Don't forget that the land that Israel is currently occupying was never Jewish. Hell, the Bible chronicles the Jews taking over Palestine from the people who originally lived there. And because it's "the promised land" Jews have the wonderful backing of religion to use as a reason to kill the original people.

Same reason the US supports Israel - the US has no right to exist either. It, too, exists solely on occupied land. The only difference between Israel and the US is that the US was able to get away with killing all the natives. In today's political climate, Israel can't get away with that, but don't think for an instant that they wouldn't try it if they thought they could.

And, unlike certain other Middle Eastern countries, Israel DOES have nuclear weapons.

Re:Well that just leaves one question (1)

Skrapion (955066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240234)

Was it the Jews or the Yanks?

Clearly it's the answer to the Manhattan Project: it's called the Lower East Side Project?

probably the commies (4, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240316)

They're ideologically opposed to enrichment.

Can you tell the difference there days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240612)

Can you tell the difference there days?

Re:Well that just leaves one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240760)

Well that just leaves one question: Was it the Jews or the Yanks?

It's easier to just blame it on Connecticut.

This story (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240206)

This story made my head spin. Slowly at first, but then faster, than slower again.

Re:This story (3, Funny)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240350)

Yeah this story is total bullshit, it is almost entirely spin.

Re:This story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240738)

like a record baby?

frequency converter drives ? (3, Interesting)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240284)

What do these frequency converter drives actually do in relation to uranium enrichment?

Re:frequency converter drives ? (4, Informative)

dattaway (3088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240334)

AC motors require these drives to get their speed. 60Hz would be about 1800 or 3600 rpm, depending how its wound. Most industrial drives can be programmed for 400Hz, which will spin the armature quite fast. Enrichment is like spinning glassware on a dentist's drill. Those frequencies at that high of voltage (480 volts typical) has a very high switching rate that requires exotic transistor designs. Given that these controllers aren't very common, say for a juice mixer, they can be tracked and sabotaged by the distributor quite easily.

Re:frequency converter drives ? (1)

mrv00t (858087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240344)

My understanding is that they control the electric motors which spin the centrifuges.

Re:frequency converter drives ? (3, Informative)

jeyk (570728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240348)

They control the speed of the centrifuges that extract the enriched uranium. From TFA:

Stuxnet targets specific frequency converter drives — power supplies that are used to control the speed of a device, such as a motor.

[...] the centrifuges need to spin at a precise speed for long periods of time in order to extract the pure uranium. If those centrifuges stop to spin at that high speed, then it can disrupt the process of isolating the heavier isotopes in those centrifuges . . . and the final grade of uranium you would get out would be a lower quality.

Re:frequency converter drives ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240358)

They tell the centrifuges how fast to spin, which controls the rate at which your heavier isotope (U238) drifts away from your lighter isotope (U235).

Too good to be true. (4, Funny)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240292)

Can't wait for the movie adaptation. I heard they got a book in the works too???

Re:Too good to be true. (4, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240412)

Hackers 4: One Half-Life To Live

Starring Shia LeBeouf, Robert Pattinson, Michael Cera, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, and Megan Fox

Re:Too good to be true. (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240584)

Yeah; a bunch of software developers and reverse engineers working in an office on a worm for a few months, then they launch it (probably by scattering a few USB dongles around or something), it spreads to Iran and reduces their enrichment capacity before they start slowly clearing up the mess, allowing another year of tedious negotiations in the UN. It'll be huge.

Re:Too good to be true. (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240588)

Seriously though from a technical standpoint it is fascinating, but it is heart wrenching to come to slashdot and just see "hmm I think Botswana did it!! they use coal and see nuclear as a threat" "no no no it was yugoslavian seperatists!!"

I don't know whats more worrying... (3, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240420)

... the emergence of this type of worm or the fact that a consumer OS as security poor as Windows is being used in nuclear plants. And no, I don't think Linux or OS/X would be much of an improvement. OpenBSD maybe. But surely for operations such as this where a fault really could lead to numerous people dying in unpleasent ways a tested, secure real time OS from somewhere like Green Hills would be used? OK , in Iran I realise this wouldn't be possible but Windows isn't just used over there in important industrial applications.

You wouldn't want Windows (or Linux or OS/X) flying your Airbus so why the hell do people think its ok to run indistrial sites with it??

Re:I don't know whats more worrying... (0, Troll)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240454)

the system is meant to be CONTROLLED from a windows, or any, machine connected to the network.
the centrifuge controllers etc naturally don't run windows. they might even be dos.

anyways, the problem wasn't just running windows, it's that the whole control network for the centrifuges wasn't isolated.

Re:I don't know whats more worrying... (4, Funny)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240576)

Well thats ok then. as long as its only CONTROLLED by it. Perhaps we should put Windows in avionic packages then, after all, it will only CONTROL the flaps and engines. Would could possibly go wrong?

Re:I don't know whats more worrying... (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240702)

I seem to recall we have DOS flying space shuttles.

Re:I don't know whats more worrying... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240724)

I don't know if thats true or not, but astronauts are fully aware of the risks they're taking when they sign up. People who live within a few miles of a high risk industrial or nuclear plant didn't sign up for anything.

Re:I don't know whats more worrying... (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240792)

Depends on wether they or the plant was there first.

And that.... (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240462)

....is how Shai Hulud was born.

Loudmouths (-1, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240490)

Stuxnet might've worked if it wasn't for those stupid, selfish loudmouth losers at WikiLeaks.

In case these preening, self-aggrandizing tossers didn't notice -- we're in an ongoing conflict with some very nasty people. These arsehats just couldn't help themselves..

Re:Loudmouths (3, Insightful)

oji-sama (1151023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240548)

I would think that Iranians would have noticed their Nuclear chief's resignation (and the possible nuclear incident) themselves.

Re:Loudmouths (2, Insightful)

wannabgeek (323414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240790)

we're in an ongoing conflict with some very nasty people.

Are you talking about Iranians, or Americans? 'cuz I'm sure the Iranians share your thoughts, just in the opposite direction.

well (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240514)

hey, it's better than an invasion right? I'm sure Symantec are happy with themselves discovering this, but I hope the realize that if Iran hadn't already figured it out, Symantec just informed them, and brought them a little closer to getting the shit bombed out of them by either the US or Israel.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34240656)

Win-win? Symantec gets publicity and governments can pull another "weapons of mass destruction" argument out of their asses by saying "hey we tried", before doing what they always wanted to: start another war.

More details (5, Informative)

jimmyswimmy (749153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34240608)

There's a lot more detail in the symantec virus "dossier" [symantec.com] . A very interesting and detailed read.
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