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'Legitimized' Cyberwar Opens Pandora's Box of Dirty Tricks

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the he-who-is-without-sin dept.

Politics 134

DillyTonto writes "U.S. officials have acknowledged playing a role in the development and deployment of Stuxnet, Duqu and other cyberweapons against Iran. The acknowledgement makes cyberattacks more legitimate as a tool of not-quite-lethal international diplomacy. It also legitimizes them as more-combative tools for political conflict over social issues, in the same way Tasers gave police less-than-lethal alternatives to shooting suspects and gave those who abuse their power something other than a club to hit a suspect with. Political parties and single-issue political organizations already use 'opposition research' to name-and-shame their opponents with real or exaggerated revelations from a checkered past, jerrymander districts to ensure their candidates a victory and vote-suppression or get-out-the-vote efforts to skew vote tallies. Imagine what they'll do with custom malware, the ability to DDOS an opponent's web site or redirect donations from an opponent's site to their own. Cyberweapons may give nations a way to attack enemies without killing anyone. They'll definitely give domestic political groups a whole new world of dirty tricks to play."

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134 comments

Well then, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193313)

We should do the same with US infrastructure, I don't trust them either to carry nuclear weapon.

Re:Well then, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194115)

We should do the same with US infrastructure,

I suspect that (regardless of this crap) such an effort has been underway for years by so-called "nation-states" and people who want to see the US finally get put in its place.

I don't trust them either to carry nuclear weapon.

What's not to trust about a country at perpetual war with everything (including logic) populated by paranoid nuts that only know war and war-making?

Note the modding down by a Touchy American Baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194623)

The truth hurts, as demonstrated by the fascist knob-sucking loser that modded it down in an attempt to censor it.

As the post said:

We should do the same with US infrastructure,

I suspect that (regardless of this crap) such an effort has been underway for years by so-called "nation-states" and people who want to see the US finally get put in its place.

I don't trust them either to carry nuclear weapon.

What's not to trust about a country at perpetual war with everything (including logic) populated by paranoid nuts that only know war and war-making?

Slashdot: Censorship of Free Speech by Mindless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194927)

...Anonymous Apparatchik for over a decade.(c)

Mass mind-control of nerds, lies that nerds swallow.(c)

Well, Duh (3, Insightful)

jackjumper (307961) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193331)

" They'll definitely give domestic political groups a whole new world of dirty tricks to play."

As if they didn't have them before?

Can't keep a secret? WFT? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194369)

I dunno....

But what's the deal with the US covert ops community these days?

Do they NOT know how to keep a fucking secret anymore?!?

Whomever leaked this...needs to be found out, and put on trial for treason....or at the very least, be prosecuted for breaking the oath they took/signed to keep said secrets.

I know on rare occasions, there needs to be exceptions for whistle blowers, and that's a tricky fine line to walk....something has to be genuinely bad.

But something like this....a covert ops thing, should never have seen the light of day outside of the CIA.

Maybe its not the covert people that blew it.....likely a politician. No matter who let this out....they need to be found out and be made an example of.....

Re:Can't keep a secret? WFT? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194493)

Maybe I'm still too young and naive, but this idea seems more of a way for bad actions to be perpetrated by people claiming to be the good guys (which again 'good guys' is subjective). I understand secrecy during an operation, but the objective good guys should be able to own up to their deeds. If the intelligence organizations can't stand behind their deeds, then they deserve the disgust they have earned.

"Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest."
          - Benjamin Franklin

As an American (I'm looking at you too Russia), I can't help but feel more and more responsible for tragedies in the present day. Most of the places lashing out (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Mexico, and South America) were armed and encouraged to fight by the US. Now the US is trying to put down it's 'dogs' of war.

It would be simple matter, except these 'dogs' are nations like us. What gives us the right?

Re:Can't keep a secret? WFT? (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194657)

Many criminals have been caught out because they could not stop themselves showing off. I think it's something to do with pride.

Re:Can't keep a secret? WFT? (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195527)

It starts with an O.

And anyone who brings up Plame is a fucking moron, as agents who work at an ambassadorial post, as Plame already had, are never sent out into the field again.

Re:Well, Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194601)

The article is correct when it says that the demonstrated success and availability of increasingly sophisticated cyberweapons could encourage their use by non-state actors, but it's a stretch to think that the use of cyberweapons will become a legitimate tool alongside opposition-research and gerrymandering. The latter are legal; cyberweapons are not.

DDoS and other cyberattacks are not new and are already available to political parties. But you rarely find them used. Why? The scrupulous know it is unethical and illegal to use them. An unscrupulous party operative knows that the risks far outweigh any potential short-term benefits -- just look at the efforts expended to catch members of Anonymous and Lulzsec.

Re:Well, Duh (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194699)

" They'll definitely give domestic political groups a whole new world of dirty tricks to play."

As if they didn't have them before?

The implication is they didn't use them before. The US government is saying now "We're using cyberattacks, and that's cool" (or "We are cyberterrorists" if you prefer escalated language). If the other countries don't respond with an outcry and demand consequences -- like what would happen if the US bombed a factory in another country -- that becomes legitimized.

However, for the case of Stuxnet this is a bad analogy -- it's more like if the US managed to replace the parts in a delivery with bad/broken parts that delayed progress -- not intruding sovereignity and requiring some incompetence of the other side along the way. And they have actually done this before.
So it's not such a big change.

acknowledged? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193341)

Where exactly has this been officially acknowledged? The only thing we have is a story in the NYT with an anonymous source. I would not call that "acknowledged." I would call that rumor.

Re:acknowledged? (4, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193435)

The testing 'bits' are starting to fit/glow:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/01/did-a-us-government-lab-help-israel-develop-stuxnet/ [arstechnica.com]
The details seem to be built on the evidence found in the code, interviews over 18 months with current and former officials.
The need for testing the results on P-1 centrifuges puts the code creation in the hands of a few world powers.

Re:acknowledged? (2)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195499)

The statement about the US creating Stuxnet was made by a guy writing a book using sources that can not be independently verified. Your link only addresses a "what if" scenario. The US government has not admitted to creating the attack. How could they? According to a lot of people the US is stupid and incapable of doing anything this complex.
  The code has been scrutinized since it came out and even the smartest engineers and programmers in the world have not uncovered anything that can be traced back to any particular country. If you have any verifiable evidence please provide it. The entire attempt to blame the US or Israel has been nothing but opinions, suppositions, and propaganda.

The PLC code was actually the easiest part of the program. The real hard part was the installation, propagation, and hiding it on the infected machine.

Re:acknowledged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193481)

Well, the x86 platform was invented in the US. Therefore, the US has played a role.

Re:acknowledged? (4, Informative)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193601)

The Washington Post is also [washingtonpost.com] quoting "current and former U.S. officials", speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying so.

Re:acknowledged? (2)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195219)

The guy who released the information was busy writing a book so what a better way to publicize it.

The start of a new arms race (0)

Stolly (1812300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193353)

Probably, the consequences are yet to be understood

Re:The start of a new arms race (4, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193441)

Hmm. This requires 30 seconds of thought.

The US loves the idea of using drones inside its own borders.

The US loves the idea of equipping drones with very fast, explosive missiles.

The US will, in time, find a way to patrol the interior with drones equipped with very fast, explosive missiles.

The US will come under a terrorist attack from its own weapon systems.

Reasoning -> I am fairly certain that a swarm of drones can have its firmware corrupted to follow orders from a non-legitimate source. I am also fairly certain that Hellfire missiles or some other ordinance likely to be equipped on said drones has enough destructive capacity to take out civilian aircraft, train bridges, or even make it inside the defensive perimeter of the White House.

One need only think what a dozen drones, equipped with air-to-air, could achieve if someone compromised them, and flew them to a nearby major airport, with programming to lock onto various targets. Assuming 2 missiles per drone, and 100% accuracy of unique targets, that comes out to 12 747s (which are not equipped with EM counter-measures) dropping out of the sky.

Assuming air-to-land ordinance, any bridge (train or otherwise) would make a fair target. Take out enough structural supports, and the deaths could be in the hundreds. This is, of course, assuming classical thinking. If we move off of that, than any skyscraper, chemical plant, etc. could become a target. This is, of course, assuming we are going for the most visibly destructive targets.

Assuming air-to-sea ordinance, any large tanker or cruise ship becomes a target.

As I recommended before, immediate termination of the drone programs would be in the best interest of the sane.

Re:The start of a new arms race (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193491)

I would absolutely love to hear your qualifications for this statement.

"I am fairly certain that a swarm of drones can have its firmware corrupted to follow orders from a non-legitimate source."

Re:The start of a new arms race (5, Funny)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193701)

"I would absolutely love to hear your qualifications for this statement." -> Seriously, this, on /.? It's a flying computer built by a bunch of military contractors.

Bring one to the next major computer trade show, and leave it inside over night. If it isn't outright stolen, it'll be sporting a Tux sticker on its side as a handful of attendants will stay up all night to get Linux running on the damn thing. "Dude, I've got the kernel up and running, but I can't decide: KDE or Gnome?"

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193807)

Well, I guess we are down to semantics, of course, this is /.

Can you corrupt a drone firmware - sure. Can you physically acquire the swarm of drones, then deploy them into US airspace? Or if you make your own drones, can you get the hellfire missles? I just seems far fetched. But granted, not impossible.

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194281)

Ever heard of remote access? Internet? Networks?

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194625)

"I would absolutely love to hear your qualifications for this statement." -> Seriously, this, on /.? It's a flying computer built by a bunch of military contractors.

Bring one to the next major computer trade show, and leave it inside over night. If it isn't outright stolen, it'll be sporting a Tux sticker on its side as a handful of attendants will stay up all night to get Linux running on the damn thing. "Dude, I've got the kernel up and running, but I can't decide: KDE or Gnome?"

And then mouse wil click you.

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194789)

Lol. Actually, I can see the repurposing of various parts of the drone for the interface.

Spinning the rotor is the equivalent of moving the wheel on the mouse, and the horizontal & verticals stabilizers act as the left & right mouse buttons, respectively.

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

V-similitude (2186590) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193891)

I'm more interesting in hearing the qualifications for this statement:

"I am also fairly certain that Hellfire missiles or some other ordinance likely to be equipped on said drones has enough destructive capacity to take out civilian aircraft, train bridges, or even make it inside the defensive perimeter of the White House."

There's not a whole lot of need or justification for equipping drones with weapons internally. The need for weaponized drones is in areas where there's a significant risk for loss of life from a human operator. Furthermore, there are, in fact, laws against using the military (which may or may not include weaponized drones in spirit or letter of the law) on US soil. I really don't see it very likely that we'll have this sort of problem any time soon.

Insightful? More like conspiracy/doomsday theory.

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194293)

Replace military with police.
Those drones could have tasers, shooting rubber bullets, maybe radio interference etc.
Tho by itself can do quite a bit of havoc on small scale, but maybe if you crash the drones intentionally on something larger?

Re:The start of a new arms race (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194463)

Take a look at the old /. articles, you'll see lots of news about US police (and imigration) forces wanting to use those things.

A terrorist attack using civilian armed drones looks inevitable.

Re:The start of a new arms race (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193947)

Ah come on it's not like the spare parts being used for American weapons systems are often Chinese made counterfeits...oh...wait...

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194101)

I needed less than a second to think: Stuxnet rhymes with Skynet. Don't these guys ever watch or read dystopian science-fiction?

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194431)

I believe they have, and think it's a 'how to' guide.

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194491)

There's so much wrong with what you've postulated, I honestly don't even know where to begin. Fortunately, I've signed papers that say I can't begin, so I'll just enjoy a good laugh and move along. Your time would have been more productively spent reading a good book. At the rate you're going, you're surely not going to make it as an author, though.

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194725)

Iran appears to have brought down one of these drones by faking GPS signals. It seems possible the same trick could be used to get these things to land or crash anywhere. Assuming we are talking about unarmed drones they still look like big heavy things that would do some damage to a solid building.

I assume the GPS faking equipment would also mess up satellite navigation for a few thousand cars, that could well do more economic damage than putting a dent in one government office.

Re:The start of a new arms race (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194857)

I'd be more interested in the prospect of getting some of the chips, slicing them, and looking at them under an electron microscope. From there, it would be possible to reverse engineer the various control systems. Even doing it blindly (ripping out the chips, and playing with things 'manually' to see what various thing do), it may be possible to build a chip, albeit with completely different internals, that could command the drone.

While it would be consider somewhat a fantasy right now, it would be entertaining to rebuild / mod a drone to crack any drones nearby. One drone converts a swarm, or at least jams / redirects them one at a time to a predesignated landing spot, where they can be converted by hand.

Bull... Fish (4, Insightful)

adosch (1397357) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193381)

Cyberweapons may give nations a way to attack enemies without killing anyone. They'll definitely give domestic political groups a whole new world of dirty tricks to play."

Your sense of 'military and collateral' damage is very skewed, there, article submitter. So 2-3% of military troops on the ground won't die, or any other native county civilians along the way, but you're ok with the vulnerability of a digital US infrastructure that has MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of US federal, contractor, civilian and citizen 'at risk.

This isn't a new pandora's box. What makes it shock value is that it's one thing to admit being behind Stuxnet, it's another to admit you're the United State Goverment and you're behind Stuxnet.

Re:Bull... Fish (1)

ACS Solver (1068112) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193483)

It's not like this is going to be anything new in principle. Cyberattacks like Stuxnet are just another tool that governments will use in secret ops. This happens all the time. Nations send spies to other nations that try to get classified info, in some cases there are special forces soldiers operating on secret missions in foreign countries - missions that may involve killing - and all of that is stuff that typically gets denied on the official level for many years.

Powerful malware will be used in much the same way as spy plane flyovers in the old days, or special forces insertions. You do it to an unfriendly country, you do not admit it, and you realize that the other country won't launch an outright attack over it as long as you have more conventional fighting capability.

Re:Bull... Fish (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193723)

Been there.

Done that. [wikipedia.org]

(Siberian pipeline sabotage by the CIA).

The only thing that's new here is that we did it on the Internet. So we should just patent it and give it a go.

Bull... Fish-Naivity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193485)

The only shock is just how naive the general public is about what happens between governments. What exactly DO people think happens between governments?

Re:Bull... Fish-Naivity. (2)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194731)

They know what happens, it's just that they also know what would happen if governments weren't run by greedy tools.

"Solidarity is the tenderness of the peoples."

Because if real people have better things to do with their own little lives, how much more so on larger scales. And people pay for this stuff -- so they have a right to be "shocked". And it's not like they're not being deceived in small and big ways 24/7, too. Way to be ironic, being shocked that the public is shocked and all that. How do you DO think that public affairs, shady criminal organizations and citizens, the souvereign king, are connected? Is it just hurr-di-durr, or also a bit of lalala? The trash always acts so shocked when it's taken out. My my.

Another nail in the coffin (5, Insightful)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193383)

I grew up believing in the US as a beacon for freedom and fairness. Okay, so it was the 60's and 70's and given what was going down in South America it was probably all a lie then.

Thing is, just recently the US stated that they view a cyber attack as an act of war. Given how targeted Stuxnet was, by this admission they have clearly stated that it is okay for the US to commit an act of war on Iran, a country that has no history of aggression (although plenty of rhetoric, but that is not uncommon for the region).

How would you US citizens feel if you were on the receiving end of Predator drones, cyber attacks and Shock and Awe?

Hypocrisy. The very worst of human traits.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193421)

Persia (modern day Iran) has a very long history of aggression and empire building.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (2)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193469)

Iran? The UK owned it, got its oil real, real cheap. The US and UK installed the Shah, then let Iraq invade...
Kind of hard to build an empire when you are part of one or having your gov overthrown or been invaded :)

Re:Another nail in the coffin (5, Informative)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193549)

Iran/Persia was never part of the British Empire.The last time they started a war was in 1826 when they attacked Russia. The two nations had fought a number of wars before that so there was plenty of bad blood between the two. So not quite sure where your "part of one" comes from in relation to empires, but they had plenty of opportunity to be aggressive if they desire to be so.

This is the country that didn't use chemical weapons in the Gulf War (the real one, the one that killed a million people) despite Iraq doing so with the complicity of the US.

All I am saying is that when it comes to moral high ground, the US of A has plenty of looking up to do.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (2)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193665)

Read up on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Persian_Oil_Company [wikipedia.org]
16% of any profits, the British government bought the D'Arcy concession (principal stockholder) ensuring form ~1920s into the 1940s Iran's oil was "UK" oil :)
In 1951 Iran wanted its oil profits back, the UK/CIA Operation Ajax resulted and then you had the Shah.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193981)

This is the country that didn't use chemical weapons in the Gulf War (the real one, the one that killed a million people) despite Iraq doing so with the complicity of the US.

I seem to recall the US (and everyone else) walking away from Saddam when he started lobbing gas shells at the Kurds, or at least when the bloated bodies turned up on the BBC..

Re:Another nail in the coffin (3, Interesting)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194195)

From Wikipedia:

"The provision of chemical precursors from United States companies to Iraq was enabled by a Ronald Reagan administration policy that removed Iraq from the State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Leaked portions of Iraq's "Full, Final and Complete" disclosure of the sources for its weapons programs shows that thiodiglycol, a substance needed to manufacture mustard gas, was among the chemical precursors provided to Iraq from US companies such as Alcolac International and Phillips."

They knew what was going on. They chose to ignore it because of the embarrassment that Iran had caused the US after the overthrow of the Shah.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194769)

"I seem to recall" == "I wish it was true"?

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194841)

I seem to recall the US (and everyone else) walking away from Saddam when he started lobbing gas shells at the Kurds, or at least when the bloated bodies turned up on the BBC..

Is that right? Or did they walk away from Saddam for some other reason then start reporting his previously ignored crimes?

I'm still waiting for anyone to find these stockpiles of WMDs that Saddam had. They all seem to have disappeared just like they were never there at all.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194065)

With the US having so many soft cyber-targets, namely water and electric plants, transportation systems, etc, we should be really careful of throwing the first cyber stones around, no matter how carefully we think we have camouflaged our glass houses.

BTW, In how many countries do we now have American combat troops?
According to the Defense Department’s Base Structure Report, FY 2002, U.S. troops are stationed in 156 countries. There are only 46 countries left without an American military presence.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194487)

With the US having so many soft cyber-targets, namely water and electric plants, transportation systems, etc

You left out the military drones and ICBMs.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193433)

If we remove the misnomer of 'cyberwarfare' and call it instead 'cyberespionage' which it is really is, would you be so offended? Governments since their inception have relied on espionage of all kinds, and don't shy away from the revelation. I don't think anyone should be surprised or offended to see espionage happening. As far as business and politics, espionage has played its part and this merely broadens the scope a little.

What happened in the 70s in South America is vastly different than what is being discussed here.

-Unconcerned

Re:Another nail in the coffin (4, Insightful)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193641)

Having attended a number of security conferences recently where cyber attacks on infrastructure (which is what Stuxnet was) were discussed in detail, I can't share you 'unconcerned'. You start putting viruses in industrial processing equipment and you could end up with a Fukishima or Bhopal. One attack I have seen demonstrated involved a virus being injected via the wireless connections on control vales in a oil refinery, and then hopping across 16 bit processors and RS232 connections. I didn't follow the whole thing, but the PHD guys that demonstrated it were pretty convincing. Hey presto, hacker just got control of your oil refinery.

Thing is, the "bad guys" have PHD propeller heads too. In fact, depending on which countries you regard as bad guys, they may well have more than you. A world where this sort of thing (and extra judicial murders via drone strikes come to that) is normal is not a world that I am comfortable with.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193823)

is not a world that I am comfortable with.

If you've been comfortable with the world we've been in for, oh, say, the past several thousand years , well all I can say is you're doing it wrong. This sort of thing (minus the computer stuff) has been going on for as long as humans have written things down.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193745)

Okay, so it was the 60's and 70's and given what was going down in South America it was probably all a lie then.

South America? How about right here in the United States? In the 1960s, the FBI was investigating people who dared to take a stand for their own civil rights, looking for ways to discredit them. It was illegal for two men to dance with each other in some states in the 1960s. In the 1970s, the executive branch of government gained the power to dictate some of the laws it is charged with enforcing. The 1970s saw the rise of paramilitary police across the country -- cops who would easily be mistaken for soldiers if their helmets and body armor was not clearly labeled "POLICE."

How would you US citizens feel if you were on the receiving end of Predator drones, cyber attacks and Shock and Awe?

As opposed to having our homes invaded by men with assault rifles, who shoot our dogs and kill, injure, and terrorize innocent people? I think you need to take another look at what is happening in the United States. We already have the largest prison population on Earth, heavily militarized law enforcement organizations that double as intelligence agencies, and a president who signed into law a bill that allows people to be detained indefinitely without trial, and who has ordered the assassination of US citizens.

So what hypocrisy were you referring to? I think we are doing a fine job of spreading our "democracy."

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194273)

Good point. Maybe I need to try another brand.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193899)

... Iran, a country that has no history of aggression (although plenty of rhetoric, but that is not uncommon for the region).

Not that I don't disagree with you in principle, but since you claim to have grown up in the 60's and 70's, you may have selectively forgotten about the USA-Iran hostage situation and the Iran-Iraq war...

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

beowulfcluster (603942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194163)

Iraq started the Iran-Iraq war. Apparently/allegedly.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194261)

Nah, not forgotten about the hostage crisis, or the botched attempt to get them back. Quite apart from that not being a war, it was also very complex from a political point of view. After the revolution they took over the US embassy. Why? Because the CIA had previously used it as a base for a military coup. You would think that this idea of embassies being off limits would bring responsibilities with the freedoms.

What I don't get is that the US seems to need a bogey man, and Iran is currently unfortunately it. The crazy thing is that they are, and never will be, a serious threat to the US. Hell, neither was Bin Laden. If the best an organisation can do is kill 4000 odd civilians after massive planning they are piss weak. Bombing raids in the second world war managed upwards of twenty times that much and it just made people stronger.

Oh, and just for the record I think the current leadership of Iran is a bunch of religious nut jobs that I have no time for. But I am also of the belief that it is up to a countries own population to sort that sort of thing out. Just like Afghanistan. Leave 'em to it - eventually they will evolve or not, but either way it is their call. Just don't sell the buggers weapons (US - Saudi, Russia - Syria etc etc) to help with the oppression.

After all, the country I came from (UK) arrived in Australia and proceeded to steal the land and massacre the natives, and it was only given Aboriginals the vote and land rights (in a limited way) in my lifetime. Who are we to be moralising to others?

Re:Another nail in the coffin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194309)

And as for the hostage situation, there is the little point that the CIA used the U.S. embassy as a HQ to stage a coup and overthrow the Iranians last democratic government, back in 1953.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194183)

I grew up believing in the US as a beacon for freedom and fairness. Okay, so it was the 60's and 70's and given what was going down in South America it was probably all a lie then.

Freedom? Once upon a time, to some degree; it helped to have the likes of Stalin and Khruschev as comparison. Fairness to other countries? Pretty much never.

How would you US citizens feel if you were on the receiving end of Predator drones, cyber attacks and Shock and Awe?

Cyber attacks we get; the well-publicized Aurora attack was almost certainly not the only one. Obviously, we don't like it... but do you really think that if the US government were to foreswear cyber-attacks and mean it, that any other organization interested in attacking that way would refrain from doing so as a result?

Re:Another nail in the coffin (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194559)

Hypocrisy. The very worst of human traits.

Why do you think hypocrisy is so bad? I personally can think of a lot of traits that are worse. The redeeming feature of hypocrisy is that it gives you a lever by which to get people to do good things even if they only do so for appearances.

Re:Another nail in the coffin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40195587)

I call BS. While I agree with the sentiment of your statement, let's take off the rose colored glasses.

a country that has no history of aggression

i would say that the forceful takeover of an embassy and the subsequent taking of hostages [wikipedia.org] qualifies as an act of aggression.

BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193397)

U.S. officials have acknowledged playing a role in the development and deployment of Stuxnet, Duqu and other cyberweapons against Iran.

This sentence is just plain bullshit and the submitter has made it up in his head. Where is the evidence of this assertion? The US has not acknowledged any role in this.

Cyberwar is fine. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193401)

Just don't forget to declare it on the other country. On Facebook, of course.

ob (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193403)

Don't slashdot me, bro!

Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193429)

Well I have to say I doubt the article, because it references New York Times, who in turn references a book from David Sanger, who in turn quotes anonymous sources so it's like 3rd or 4th hand anonymous claims. When I dig into Sanger, he in turn seems to be part of this group :

http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/aspen-strategy-group

Which in turn seems to have a cyber war agenda.

However, its convincing enough to ditch US made kit. Sorry and all, but after finding Cisco kit had back doors in its routers, I've had enough.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/02/03/hackers-networking-equipment-technology-security-cisco.html

What about Stuxnet's unintended victims? (4, Interesting)

Mannfred (2543170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193431)

If a hacker gets caught causing damage to a company's infrastructure it's hard to imagine him not going to jail and/or having to pay for the damages he/she caused. Given that Stuxnet spread around the world, do the victims get to send their cleanup bills to Uncle Sam?

Re:What about Stuxnet's unintended victims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193453)

Aww, man, did your centrifuges explode?

Re:What about Stuxnet's unintended victims? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193555)

Do you think the region will just welcome US and German "exports" again?
Will Indonesia, India, Azerbaijan, Pakistan be so happy to have to clean out software and hardware over another generation?
Industrial software is a small world and 2 big names will be recalled for sometime. They might get lucky and be near monopolies in their respective fields but it will not be as easy to just 'sell' a complex export product... China, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, other EU members will be offering systems too... brands with more happy google histories.

Re:What about Stuxnet's unintended victims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193763)

I guess I understood wrong. I have never heard of any collateral damage outside of Iran from Stuxnet. Do you think whoever wrote the software won't be able to adapt to *gasp* non-US made machinery? This wasn't a backdoor or corrupted firmware. It was software written to target a specific system.

I forgot to care about Azerbaijan, and I couldn't care less about Pakistan. Fuck those guys.

Re:What about Stuxnet's unintended victims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194411)

Seriously, you're including China in that list? China is probably the worst when it comes to this. They have an unspoken official policy of trying to steal as much information as possible from anywhere they can.

Re:What about Stuxnet's unintended victims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194225)

... do the victims get to send their cleanup bills to Uncle Sam?

Why, yes -- of course. Just open this attached PDF file and print your check.

Re:What about Stuxnet's unintended victims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194291)

The simple fact is, this article is sensationalist rumor. The US has never in any way admitted to working on this. All they have is shaky "proof" that the US helped Israel work on it.

Fine by me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193455)

A covert war of dirty tricks is better then a overt shooting war and occupation.

I'll vote to re-elect a president who would deal with Iran by sending in the CIA over a candidate would would likely send in the Marines.

Can of worms (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193457)

The USA has started poking Iran with a formally black op move, now they have opened up for reprisals. Just because you can does not mean you should. This can and will be interpreted as an act of war.

If someone did the same thing to my systems in a government country, I would be looking for ways to both counter attack and counter defense with lobbying and changes of laws.

Nicely done USA, you dumb fucks. Iran now has political and legal recourse.

Re:Can of worms (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194515)

Nicely done USA, you dumb fucks. Iran now has political and legal recourse.

Awww, come on... Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi.

The situation with Iran is an actual war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193517)

The difference between cyberattacks on Iran and on anybody else is that the new government of Iran went to war against the United States immediately after the revolution and has been unresponsive to the attempts of every American president to negotiate peace. A state of war already exists between the US and Iran, and the US is alleged to have committed an act of war against Iran. So what?

Pandora (2)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193547)

Lets all hope that when the shit hits the fan we can close that box of tricks. Too much power in the wrong hands is a very dangerous thing and where does it stop. Also, who has oversight of our dirty little cyber (I hate that word) war. The last thing we need is unchecked use of this technology.

Information can destroy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193567)

Political parties and single-issue political organizations already use 'opposition research' to name-and-shame their opponents with real or exaggerated revelations from a checkered past.

So true. Here in my country (Philipppines), an accounting error was used to remove the chief justice of our Supreme Court [wikipedia.org] . To cut a long story short, the guy made some decisions that appeared to derail or delay the political plans of the incumbent president. When direct evidence of corruption proved wanting, the justice's bank records were dug up and used as the basis for convicting him.

This article is dishonest (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193573)

Don't trust opinion articles saying what's "almost certain" to happen, since their predictions never happen. This is liberal political propaganda disguised as news.

Don't forget (5, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193635)

This is an arena where a few motivated civilians can play, too.

At the moment, I'll put Anonymous or a group of Eastern European boys I met a few years ago against the best that a political party's "opposition team" can put together.

Playing War in a distributed worldwide network is not the same as throwing a bunch of hardware onto a battlefield.

So far, the best armies on the Internet are not the ones affiliated with a government or establishment political party. Hell, despite the Octopus doing its best, Pirate Bay and wikileaks are still up and running. If they go down, I'll be more worried.

Re:Don't forget (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195115)

This is an arena where a few motivated civilians can play, too.

At the moment, I'll put Anonymous or a group of Eastern European boys I met a few years ago against the best that a political party's "opposition team" can put together.

Playing War in a distributed worldwide network is not the same as throwing a bunch of hardware onto a battlefield.

So far, the best armies on the Internet are not the ones affiliated with a government or establishment political party. Hell, despite the Octopus doing its best, Pirate Bay and wikileaks are still up and running. If they go down, I'll be more worried.

Just as they can and do play espionage in meatspace. Your little guerilla operations will be short lived if they sufficiently annoy powerful governments.

Don't fool yourself, computer networks can be tamed much easier than than say, the ocean. The players involved just haven't committed the same level of effort. The Internet isn't run on pixie dust buddy.

Re:Don't forget (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195403)

Don't fool yourself, computer networks can be tamed much easier than than say, the ocean.

Enough committed individuals can become quite oceanic.

Wha? (2)

Rydia (556444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193639)

This is the most incoherent summary I've seen on slashdot yet. Maybe because it's so far in tinfoil hat territory, but still, wow.

...or more likely, a new way to kill people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193651)

Just like stun guns, it will bee used and abused until people have a new way to kill people.

Okay Warfare is going to get cheaper! Kindler? (2)

aisnota (98420) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193689)

First of all, industrial warfare as we know it is going to start fading quickly.

You just do not need to spend lavishly if your opponent depends on computer technology to order, work-flow and conduct a military action anymore. War is going to get cheap!

So forget about so many tanks, aircraft and soldiers. All you need to do is confuse the enemy, keep their soldiers from getting paid, food, water and old style ammunition - bullets or new style ammunition - packet flow.

Overspending on Internet technology is what maybe in tens of millions of dollars compared to tens of billions in military industrial complex goods?

Leon Panetta should with his former CIA chief background be aware that the Pentagon budget is in some serious deep price decline mode like Walmart's falling ones.

Really, do you think any military or asymmetrical war from those idiotic militants in foreign lands get far if their packet flow is adulterated or commands now sent to their gear reverse the intent of the action?

But as to the statement that no one gets killed?

Bull is the word there, because war is still dirty lousy business in the body politics. Commands for centrifuges as in what it is with STUXNET can just as easily be reformulated for medical gear used for generals of an army or to cut off so much logicistical capacity of a combatant group to inflict death. It is just a matter of scale or opportunity.

Face it, if the bogey man of the day is being secretly treated for kidney ailments do you think the President of the United States is going to say hands off that medical equipment?

It's "Gerrymander not jerrymander (1)

InterGuru (50986) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193691)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

The word gerrymander (originally written Gerry-mander) was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette on March 26, 1812. The word was created in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under the then-governor Elbridge Gerry (pronounced /ri/; 1744–1814).

It's a lesson in cyberwar (2)

mattr (78516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194071)

I am a bit worried if Stuxnet is state of the art and the U.S. military has now taught the world including its enemies what it thinks is quality coding for cyber weapons. Seems Obama was swayed by the relative lack of expense but it certainly is not low profile or containable. I don't know much about Stux at all but one would imagine that centrifuges are not the only industrial infrastructure that could be targeted by such a weapon. Now you know what every black hat is working on these days, when they are not stealing bitcoins. Unfortunately the posts about drones being the next cyberwar vector are probably true, whether in 1 year or 20 it seems inevitable. The question next is active defense by buildings, airports, aircraft, highway interchanges, bridges, power plants, etc. If the U.S. saw a window in time when such a cyber attack would be little understood and so not be defended against, then how long is the current window in time regarding rogue drone attacks? I don't see much difference between home use R/C and industrial drones either.

Same old rumors being spread as facts (0)

raist21 (68156) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194105)

This article is slightly disingenuous at best...at no point and time has the US admitted to being behind these cyber attacks. The NYTimes article that it links to sites unnamed sources, claiming that they are current and former government officials, yet does not release any names or actual proof. It looks to me like it's a bunch of unsubstantiated rumors trying to be spread as fact to generate news.

Re:Same old rumors being spread as facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194333)

Wait, you mean the New York times isn't an official organ of the government?

Don't kid yourselves (4, Interesting)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194353)

"Cyberweapons may give nations a way to attack enemies without killing anyone."

I doubt very much that there was no loss of life involved in Stuxnet's effects. A P2 gas centrifuge that spins so fast that there are only a few metal alloys in the world that are tough enough to hold together. When one of those tubes lets go because it wobbles at one of the unstable speed zones it enters, or because it over-runs (as Stuxnet made happen), it's like a grenade going off. As I recall the estimate was that at least 40% of the centrifuges at Natanz failed in this fashion...and I find it difficult to imagine that nobody was ever standing near any of them when it happened.

Re:Don't kid yourselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194481)

High speed gas centrifuge filled with radioactive material - I'd be suprised if anyone was in the same building with it, much less standing next to the damn thing.

Welcome to the new world of the cold cyber-war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194365)

US government creating computer viruses and targeting other technologies to disrupt weapon systems. (stuxnet)

Chinese government executing an advanced, persistent threat APT to gain access to code for cryptography that the US government uses (RSA hack)

Iran government using jamming signals to down a US stealth drone.

Multiple DDOS attacks, hacks, and such by non-state actors.

Bwhahahahaha! VINDICATED! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194417)

And here people poo-poohed the concept of "Cyberwarfare", calling it mere hype...

Shame that I and others have been right for the better part of a decade now. It's not yet at the level that the actual hype (yes, there was some, but nothing as much as this bunch here or elsewhere claimed it was...) made it out to be- but with the US owning up to Stuxnet and a few others...there SHOULD be a big fat f*cking hint in it for all of you...

It's real.

It can do real damage.

Pick the right target and you can hose up a country- and not just things like those centrifuges.

What if someone figures out something that makes the 2003 East Coast Blackout look like a picnic? It's more than possible, just so you know. What if it's down for months as they try to sort out the mess? How are you going to cope? I'm largely prepared. Are you?

Act of war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194489)

So the US has openly admitted to helping to deploy a (cyber) weapon on foreign soil; I wonder if this will be considered an act of war. I think the US would consider it as such depending on the attacker.

Anonymous Officials Say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194647)

The NY Times is not a bastion of credibility, having muffed the WMD in Iraq story, and having people like Jason Blair create fake news. No one has officially acknowledged this story, and we have only the word of a news organization with shaky credibility that "anonymous officials say" this is true.

Mr. potato head (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194823)

MISTER POTATO HEAD!!!

Back doors ARE NOT secrets!

What about Chernobyl plant? (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194853)

There were rumors in the former USSR that Chernobyl plant was sabotaged in 1986 by an unknown kind of an cyber-electronic weapon from a satellite.

It would be interesting to learn if there were any leaks on that.

I always dismissed these rumors, but if there was really an attempt to sabotage the Natanz nuclear plant, then well...

It would be sort of a not nice thing to learn if it turns out to be the case. Not nice at all.

Domestic? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194941)

I'm not too worried about domestic groups using such tactics. They are largely illegal already. And well enforced treaties between stable nations will take care of cross border private attacks.

I do worry about nations using such tactics as a means of war. Wars escalate and can lead to armed conflict. Since such techniques are available to some of the smallest, weakest nations, they will be attracted to their use. Just to demonstrate some sort of equality with the big players. But the big players don't like little people getting uppity (the USA being a prime example) and could quickly move the conflict into an area where they still hold an advantage. Actual guns and bombs.

spell check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40194953)

its spelled Gerrymandering

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