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Schneier Calls US Stuxnet Cyberattack a 'Destabilizing and Dangerous' Action

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the excuse-me-while-I-pluck-out-your-eye dept.

Government 351

alphadogg writes "Revelations by The New York Times that President Barack Obama in his role as commander in chief ordered the Stuxnet cyberattack against Iran's uranium-enrichment facility two years ago in cahoots with Israel is generating controversy, with Washington in an uproar over national-security leaks. But the important question is whether this covert action of sabotage against Iran, the first known major cyberattack authorized by a U.S. president, is the right course for the country to take. Are secret cyberattacks helping the U.S. solve geopolitical problems or actually making things worse? Bruce Schneier, whose most recent book is 'Liars and Outliers,' argues the U.S. made a mistake with Stuxnet, and he discusses why it's important for the world to tackle cyber-arms control now."

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Yes, and? (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#40368967)

The more involved the more things can go wrong.

Re:Yes, and? (1)

rubikscubejunkie (2664793) | about 2 years ago | (#40369411)

did schnier go rogue? i don't see it.

Re:Yes, and? (4, Funny)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about 2 years ago | (#40369897)

Schneier goes commando! Every day!

Re:Yes, and? (2, Interesting)

coastwalker (307620) | about 2 years ago | (#40369421)

Schneier is a fool, nothing can stop cyber warfare because there is no way of monitoring it. With all other weapons treaties you have some chance of verifying them but all cyber warefare needs is a laptop and a WiFi hotspot. So it is coming and we all know it. Good time to buy shares in secure products and cyber security businesses.

Sometimes I find it astonishing how naive people can be. And if you see a vulnerability in scum like Kim Barking Mad Teapots North Korea or Ahmadinejad's Iran then we should be doing our best to take them out now whilst we still can.

Re:Yes, and? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369663)

And you merkins do no wrong because your the shining city on the hill and we all want to be a merkin, but because we cant we hate because of your freedoms . Pick a trouble spot any place in the world and I can bet your counrty has had it's mucky paws in the mess somehow.

Re:Yes, and? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369823)

I can see your jealous.

Re:Yes, and? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369943)

Please convert that into English and repost. Thanks

Quibids girl is achingly hot. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40368979)

I just can't get enough of that commercial.
 
As for Stuxnet, of course it was the right thing to do. Anything that sets back the Iranian programme by even a few months is worth it.

Re:Quibids girl is achingly hot. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369175)

Stuxnet meh. WAY more importantly:

http://whoisthathotadgirl.tumblr.com/post/5646552017/q-who-is-the-hot-girl-in-those-quibids-com-ads [tumblr.com]

Q: Who is the hot girl in those QuiBids.com ads?
A: D’Arcy Kate Fellona

D’Arcy is a model/actress. She has appeared on episodes of ‘White Collar’ and ‘Gossip Girl’. She is also a former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader!

Re:Quibids girl is achingly hot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369191)

I don't trust my country possessing nuclear weapon either, I hope another country will undermine our american nuclear facility as well.

Nonsense! (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40368981)

How could contributing to the spread of clever computer-intrusion technologies(both with things like Stuxnet, and with the pernicious habit of doing business with the sort of slimy vulnerability-sellers whose customers want to exploit, not patch, them), possibly be a bad idea for a country whose citizens, businesses, government, and R&D capabilities are overwhelmingly dependent on computerized infrastructure?

That's crazy talk.

I Think You Missed the Point (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#40369079)

How could contributing to the spread of clever computer-intrusion technologies(both with things like Stuxnet, and with the pernicious habit of doing business with the sort of slimy vulnerability-sellers whose customers want to exploit, not patch, them), possibly be a bad idea for a country whose citizens, businesses, government, and R&D capabilities are overwhelmingly dependent on computerized infrastructure?

I have to disagree with you here. To ensure that your businesses and citizens and government and infrastructure are sound, you should always be investigating modes for attacks and publishing them. My logic is that if the United States Government is able to develop this, then so is China's, Russia's, India's, etc so get it out in the open already. In fact, your claim almost seems to advocate security through obscurity. If you want to ensure that people aren't pilfering data without your knowledge, publish your exploits and what you see as "contributing to the spread of clever computer-intrusion technologies" could just as well be seen as "telling SCADA and other makers to pull their heads out of their asses and fix this." Also, your statements can apply to every single country now, even third world countries are largely dependent on networking hardware to function.

The reason this is a "destabilizing and dangerous" action was because it was effective -- not because the US Government secretly given hackers a bunch of ways to hack every computer ever made. Also, the US kind of lost the "moral high ground" now when someone hacks their nuclear facilities with the intent of disabling our capabilities. Use an effective cyber attack against a nation state that does not have similar capabilities ... "destabilizing and dangerous" is a definition of what you can expect the repercussions to be.

Re:I Think You Missed the Point (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369153)

*whoosh*
lulz

Re:I Think You Missed the Point (0)

tigre (178245) | about 2 years ago | (#40369217)

*whoosh*

Back at ya.

Re:I Think You Missed the Point (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40369305)

I apologize if I wasn't clear; but my point was that possessing electronic offense and improving electronic defense are directly at odds with one another(and, as you note, we are hardly the only country with a supply of adequately smart geeks.)

If you want to use an attack, you need a vulnerability. If you want to use an attack against a really clueful adversary, you may need a really juicy vulnerability, a set of zero-days(as with Stuxnet) or that nifty code-signing trick with Flame, or the like. This is where the trouble starts:

Your attack people now have a direct interest in keeping certain vulnerabilities unfixed. Since much of the world's software is widely used, and has a reasonably publicly visible update process, there is no viable way to sneak out some kind of 'Important vulnerability fix for Win32 systems in the US only'. Either you keep the bug secret, leaving your own people vulnerable, in the hopes that you can hit the other guy before he discovers the problem, or you protect everyone from that vulnerability by getting it fixed.

Having US 'national security' types researching vulnerabilities is a good thing; but only if they do so with the intent of getting them fixed(US-CERT vulnerability reporting, for instance, makes us stronger.) That is how you 'get it in the open'. Things like Stuxnet and Flame were based on vulnerabilities that were kept in the dark(during which time they could have been used against us) for as long as possible.

It's not that I advocate security through obscurity(quite the opposite, in fact), it's that in order to possess good offensive tools you must, necessarily, have knowledge of vulnerabilities that you are concealing. You had to discover them in order to build your attack system, you have to hide them in order to preserve its effectiveness. That's the problem. Possession of useful offensive capabilities implies that you are condemning everyone, your own people included, to security-by-obscurity.

Re:I Think You Missed the Point (1)

Sosarian (39969) | about 2 years ago | (#40369765)

I believe that Schneier compared this with desire for secure communications SecCom vs Signals Intelligence SigInt at the NSA in his CryptoGram newsletter.

Re:I Think You Missed the Point (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#40369723)

I see this as a valid reprisal against Iran's refusal to cooperate with UN weapon inspections or whatever.

You can't stay on the moral high ground either if you just sign a non proliferation agreement and then work with nuke stuff behind everyone's back.

Re:I Think You Missed the Point (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369837)

Wait, why does America, Russia and China get to have thousands of nukes and Iran can't have any? Does that sound fair? Who has the moral high ground here? And why does Iran want a nuke anyway? Would it be because Israel has them? Is that fair?

Re: losing the "moral high ground" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369999)

Depends on the morality. If you mean the "least deadly to the most people", and you accept the standard and most non-orthodox assesements of Middle East politics, then Stuxnet could have been considered a significant win for, well, everyone who wants to avoid nuclear death, Iranians included. At least until some genius decided shoot their mouth off about it to the Times. Apparently some electioneer in an ill-advised attempt to make Obama seem like some kind of righteously bad-ass, serious dude. Who knows? One doubts it was the President, himself.

I think Schneier is overlooking the fact that cyber war conventions are likely to lead more quickly and decisively to an un-free and un-open Net than open cyber warfare ever could. There's more than one war going on here, in fact. Other than that I don't necessarily disagree with his overall assessment.

Re:Nonsense! (2, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | about 2 years ago | (#40369337)

The astonishing thing is that anyone in the Obama administration was stupid enough to think that secrecy could be maintained on this indefinitely. Unlike physical warfare, in which the aftermath can be sanitized and obfuscated, software never goes away.

We all know this: full erasure of a worm in the wild is impossible to ensure, because you never know when some vital assumption is going to change. So the Iranians would have caught on eventually.

Add to that the equal certainty that eventually a programming error or assumption violation would result in the worm getting out into the larger would and you have as close to a guarantee as possible that Stuxnet would eventually be discovered and traced back to its source.

Yet it appears the attack was planned on the basis of perpetual secrecy, which is just stupid. I'm sure there are lots of idiots who will say, "But if only the world had been a little different than the way it actually is then THIS PARTICULAR leak wouldn't have happened!" Sure, but some other leak would have.

The militarization of the 'Net by the Government of the United States started under George W Bush and ramped up dramatically by Barrack Obama is one of the biggest disasters in the history of information technology, and the ultimate economic cost is going to dwarf the cost of Bush's idiotic physical wars.

Re:Nonsense! (5, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#40369471)

The astonishing thing is that anyone in the Obama administration was stupid enough to think that secrecy could be maintained on this indefinitely.

Who says they were thinking that? Trying to keep it under wraps as long as possible (a reasonable strategy from a tactical/strategic POV) does not imply the belief it can be done so indefinitely.

Your sentence makes a nice target against which to launch a tirade, but barring corroborating facts, it is one built on speculation.

Re:Nonsense! (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#40369953)

Until they admit this attack, it can still be sanitized and obfuscated. It's not like the code has little comments that say: I was written by the US Government and launched by Barack Obama. They just need to deny, deny, deny. I don't see how having software proves anything.

Obama's Record (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#40369017)

I voted for Obama based on two things: I hated how George Bush increased deficits recklessly and I hated how the Republican cavalierly meddled in other country's affairs using military might.

I feel like a fool.

Re:Obama's Record (-1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40369093)

So let me get this straight, you thought any US administration was just going to sit by and let Iran gain nuclear capabilities.

Re:Obama's Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369161)

they already have them.

small, deliverable, short range.

but plenty serviceable to glass israel.

Re:Obama's Record (5, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#40369687)

So let me get this straight, you thought any US administration was just going to sit by and let Iran gain nuclear capabilities.

Apparently that is his/her line of thinking, and for that, humanity weeps.

I don't understand what in Baal's name these ignoramuses expected when they voted for Obama, that he was going to kumbaya his way to the Ayatollah's hearts, that Bin Laden was going to repent and kill himself out of remorse, that all the jobs that went to China will come back (and with a pay increase to boot), and that all the shit that permeates international reality was going to magically turn into Pandora's bioluminescent flowers and hexapodal bunnies with cute emerald eyes, with Thinkerbell pixie dust poured from over a rainbow in peaceful anarchic harmony?

Uninformed, delutional ideological thinking (be it left or right leaning), that is the stuff nightmares are made of.

I didn't vote for Obama in 2008, but I can't really say he is doing a terrible job, or that he lied. I actually like him more than what the GOP (the party I'm registered for) has to offer, and he has done a decent job considering all current factors.

People who now feel betrayed for voting for him are as stupid as the people who think Obama is the root cause of all evil and that shit will turn to honey once they vote a Repub back into the presidency (specially if he believes Darwin's "On The Origin of Species" is a work of fiction.)

Stupidity of the most grotesque kind permeates both sides of the political spectrum. Such is the ethos of the at-will uneducated simpleton masses.

Re:Obama's Record (5, Interesting)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 2 years ago | (#40369163)

Normally I'd agree with you, but in this case bytes is better than bullets, IMO. If the future of warfare is more about breaking machines and less about killing people, well it is a step up.

Re:Obama's Record (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#40369303)

The only difference between machines and bullets is that it's easier to affect a far more widespread amount of machines in a more discriminate fashion.
Disable pacemakers? Shut down a hospital's equipment? These things will kill people too.

Re:Obama's Record (4, Insightful)

Kidbro (80868) | about 2 years ago | (#40369423)

This is possible, but at least it hasn't happened yet. While I'm not particularly happy about the Stuxnet attack, I couldn't accuse it of murdering hospital patients & civilians.
The same can not be said for the gun using meat space branch of the American war machine.

Re:Obama's Record (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#40369933)

Again, sounds bad, until you compare to an actual war. Unfortunately this is an inherently political discussion so there's no avoiding pointing out that the odds of overt war (that is, real war) depend heavily on the outcome of the Presidential election.

Re:Obama's Record (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369319)

You say that until you can't pay for food because your bank computer system is decimated and your credit cards stop working. Cyber warfare has the potential to be far more disruptive than conventional warfare if it's effective... as it could break systems the would lead to panic and riots.

Re:Obama's Record (4, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#40369503)

You realize that Obama has increased troops to Afghanistan and only removed troops from Iraq when forced to by their government? Gitmo is also still open.

Re:Obama's Record (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#40369973)

Bytes only delay the inevitable as iran won't stop its nuclear program. The purpose of this sabotage was to buy enough time for Obama to be able to attack after the elections. It's a risky gamble as the dely might not be enough, and bullets are still better than nukes.

Re:Obama's Record (-1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40369221)

Obama at least tried to find a way to hamper the program without an all-out war. Bush, in the same position, would probably have just ordered a bombing raid on any suspected facility.

Re:Obama's Record (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369381)

This program started under Bush.

Re:Obama's Record (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | about 2 years ago | (#40369489)

And how do you know this program wasn't started under bush. Obama leaked what he wanted you to think nothing more.

Re:Obama's Record (1, Interesting)

Pope (17780) | about 2 years ago | (#40369259)

So what? Who did you vote for Senate, House, etc.? The President doesn't run the show himself.

Re:Obama's Record (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40369461)

The President doesn't run the show himself, but because he's commander-in-chief, the President can and does regularly order in the troops without any declaration of war from Congress. For example, the USAF was ordered into Libya even though Congress didn't provide any funding or authorization for that mission.

The last time Congress formally declared war was in 1942.

Re:Obama's Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369639)

yea, and if he steps even one iota out of bounds of expected responses by DC

he'll be JFK'ed or Reagan'd.

Re:Obama's Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369529)

You're alright in my book. Unlike most of the morons who voted for Obama, you now understand your error. McCain was punished for telling the truth. Obama was rewarded for lying. Obama literally followed the Republican game plan after his election; exactly opposite of what Obama cited pre-election. The Republicans lied and of course distanced themselves from their own game plan. This was known befor the election and Obama supporters didn't care. They had been brainwashed and absolutely did not want anything close to the truth, no matter how obvious or impossible the lie.

The next step is to realize that the problem with American politics are as follows:
o Two party system is completely broken - only changes which companies are paying the largest bribes and makes it easy to get the fix in by entrenched corruption.
o Bribery is now literally legalized. The literal difference between money laundering and politics is that the literal crooks in Washington legalized money laundering their own money. And that's not hyperbole in the least.
o Most Americans are too stupid and selfish to vote for the country rather than their own selfish and frequently delusional interests. See Obama's election as an example.

The sad fact is, no matter who wins this next election, the country will lose. Obama let slip if he wins he plans to give a big middle finger to America at every chance. Romney has been giving the middle finger to the serfdom (we are all slaves and serfs in Romney's eyes) of America for decades now. After all, nothing is funnier or warmer to your heart than Daddy firing thousands of workers. They are both scum.

Re:Obama's Record (4, Insightful)

vawwyakr (1992390) | about 2 years ago | (#40369685)

The problem is here in the US, we're faced with a set of false choices. Both sides are lying backstabbing scum bags, it really doesn't matter who you vote for at this point. Obama just doubled down on the proof of this. People who point fingers at one side of the other are just missing the reality of the situation and getting caught up in the gamesmanship that is going on.

Re:Obama's Record (2)

rednip (186217) | about 2 years ago | (#40369705)

I became a Democrat in 2000 not because I was 'in love' with them, but as I thought that the GOP was so utterly broken that the only real choice was the Democratic Party. My old party's ongoing reliance on seemingly conflicting wedge issues (i.e. smaller government that regulates abortion access, etc), unwillingness to make political comprises, party messaging that's created on right wing talk radio, institutionalized voter suppression efforts, and many more reasons convince me that continuing to vote/support Democratic is the right choice.

To create a choice for political parties you should support 'instant runoff voting', from what I understand some democratic leaders already support such a choice. If it's made a campaign issue that could be voted for in the primaries, then it might come to fruition.

Obama is the Bush who isn't a coward (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40369721)

Some earlier Presidents wanted the same sort of extralegal measures done but they went to great lengths to deny they ever had anything to do with it. Congratulations folks - you got somebody ordering the same sort of shit that Bush, Reagan (and even Clinton) pretended "just happened" only this time he's not being a coward about it.
You don't just roll back from GITMO etc in a decade no matter who is in charge. Conservative lawyers are about keeping things rolling with the minimum of change and that's who you've got USA. So what you've got now USA is what you would have had if Bush wasn't an AWOL coward on holiday all of the time.

So, they have found the proof? (3, Interesting)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | about 2 years ago | (#40369021)

Is there really proof that it was the U.S.? I mean besides that awesome author who has 7 sources which want to stay hidden and that "Of course it was the U.S.!" attitude...

Re:So, they have found the proof? (5, Informative)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40369087)

Would you liked a signed letter from the CIA and NSA directors talking about their top secret program? Because, obviously vetted sources in the most reputable newspaper in the U.S., a Congressional investigation into the leak, a Presidential denial of the leak, etc. aren't enough to convince you. So I'm assuming that we need to get Leon Panetta to come over to your house and read you in on the program.

Re:So, they have found the proof? (5, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#40369387)

A friend of mine was in the Air Force in the '50s, stationed in France. While he was there, several Soviet generals were invited to tour the facilities, and inspect the bombers. My friend stated that if he had disclosed this information, he'd have been hanged, but here they were giving it away.

Of course, this was a controlled release of info, excluding critical operational details. Deterrence only works if the other side thinks that you have better weapons and will use them. So, yes, sometimes you do have to leave a calling card. The thing is, sometimes it looked like the US Government and the Soviet Government were in a conspiracy against their own respective peoples.

No this is where the U.S. made a mistake with Iran (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40369025)

The U.S. made a mistake with Iran with that stupid "Axis of Evil" speech. I'm still not sure why that speech isn't recognized as one of the biggest diplomatic blunders in recent history. First of all, lumping Iran and North Korea in with Iraq (who Bush planned to invade) served no good purpose. It was basically an open threat to Iran and North Korea that we were going to invade them next. And, not surprisingly, both responded by ramping up their nuclear weapons programs to a feverish pace (since nukes are basically the only way to ensure that the U.S. can't invade).

Iran was actually getting pretty moderate before that speech, even sending open condolences and holding vigils after 9-11, with fairly moderate leadership. After the speech we get Ahmadinejad and and full-on nuke program. Smart move, George.

Re:No this is where the U.S. made a mistake with I (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369203)

Smart move, George.

Intentional move, with successful outcome. The POTUS needs an outside enemy so the people will forget to debate internal issues.

You Are Spreading Lies (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#40369247)

Iran was actually getting pretty moderate before that speech, even sending open condolences and holding vigils after 9-11, with fairly moderate leadership. After the speech we get Ahmadinejad and and full-on nuke program. Smart move, George.

You are flat out wrong. The candle light vigils held for 9-11 victims were entirely citizen events [newamericamedia.org] and had nothing to do with the government. I have two Iranian citizens as good friends and they are completely different people than Ahmadinejad and, worse, their nutjob supreme leader [wikipedia.org] . Your insinuation that Iran the nation state sent open condolences and held vigils after 9-11 is laughable and erroneous -- some of the leadership did condemn the attacks but that's as far as it went. Hate the nation not the national. Hate the religion not the religious.

Your blame on George is also largely misplaced. They had deals with Russia to improve their nuke program long before him [wikipedia.org] and the leaders have always wanted the ultimate weapon. I know life would be simpler if everything was George W. Bush's fault but, unfortunately for you, we must face reality.

Re:You Are Spreading Lies (3, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40369375)

If you had read my statement more carefully, you would note that I said "Iran was actually getting pretty moderate before that speech", that means the people as well as the government. Yes, before that speech the people held vigils and the government sent condolences. It was only afterwards that they ramped up their dormant nuke *weapons* program and elected nutjob (by a 62% margin) to lead the country.

Before dipshit got up and made his "Axis of Evil" speech, the people were quite sympathetic to the U.S. and their leader was Mohammad Khatami [wikipedia.org] , a reformer and moderate. Guess what happened to him after W. had his "We're coming for you next, Iran" cowboy moment?

Sounds Like a Flimsy Conspiracy Theory (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#40369569)

You said in your original post:

It was basically an open threat to Iran and North Korea that we were going to invade them next.

Which is sort of incorrect, the speech was given on January 29, 2002 and Iraq was invaded on 19 of March 2003. So let's look at Mohammad Khatami who was in office from 2 August 1997 – 3 August 2005 and I'll leave it to the reader to decide if it was the speech of George W. Bush on in January of 2002 or the ongoing "Operation Iraqi Freedom" that started in 2003 and was still going on when he left office that was the primary motivation for him being replaced by someone that would scare the US. The endless Iraq War is a bigger blunder! Not his stupid speech and Republican rhetoric! Actions speak louder than words.

George W. Bush is a moron, I agree with you here. But I don't want history rewritten to say that the greatest political blunder was his Axis of Evil speech -- look at the freaking invasion of Iraq, for the love of Allah!

Guess what happened to him after W. had his "We're coming for you next, Iran" cowboy moment?

What in the hell are you talking about?! The US wasn't even in Iraq when he made this speech! You are rewriting history, you are fudging timelines, adding dialogue, cheap rhetoric and twisting facts to align with your ideals and your reality just like a politician!

Re:Sounds Like a Flimsy Conspiracy Theory (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40369829)

The cowboy moment was the speech COUPLED WITH the invasion. If you label someone part of an "Axis of Evil" and a few months later invade one of the three members, it sends a pretty clear and unambiguous message to the other two that they had damn well better prepare to be next. And that's EXACTLY what they did.

Re:Sounds Like a Flimsy Conspiracy Theory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369853)

If you label someone part of an "Axis of Evil" and a few months later invade

Hint: January 29, 2002 to March 19, 2003 is actually 14 months difference.

Re:You Are Spreading Lies (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40369781)

Iran as a whole probably is more moderate. Remember that the last election of Ahmadinejad had to be blatantly rigged.
It's a bit of a race between when the old generation lose power and when the nukes are ready.

Re:You Are Spreading Lies (2)

should_be_linear (779431) | about 2 years ago | (#40369613)

some of the leadership did condemn the attacks but that's as far as it went.

What else should they to? After all, it was only one building and few thousand victims of attack. Comparing to hundrends of thousend civilians killed and wounded by US Army. If Iranian condemnation of attack (they were not involved in) is too little, what is Obama supposed to do in Iraq, about mindless attacks he is directly responsible for?

I usually not into CT ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369287)

But frankly I get the sinking feeling that this war on terrorism, and that axis of evil thingy is especially made to maintain some part of the military industrial group well financed, by having justification on using new toy. This went waaaay beyond revenge for 9/11 into "let us see how well our weapon perform by having a new playground to test our stuff on real people".

Re:No this is where the U.S. made a mistake with I (2)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#40369297)

First of all, lumping Iran and North Korea in with Iraq (who Bush planned to invade) served no good purpose.

It makes good theater. Destro, Cobra Commander and Zartan all had different aims and ambitions, but they pretty much just got lumped together as Bad Guys too. The American public dislikes subtlety.

Re:No this is where the U.S. made a mistake with I (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#40369367)

First of all, lumping Iran and North Korea in with Iraq (who Bush planned to invade) served no good purpose.

Ah, you don't understand how the US works. Much like, "Invasion is the means by which the US teaches its citizens geography", invasions are also the beta testing ground for US munitions manufacturers. Does stealth work? Invade Iraq. Bunker busters? Afghanistan. Does mobile infantry help? Invade VietNam. Does jet tech. help? Korea. Etc.

I'm not really sure how Afghanistan fits in, but "Combat Hospital" is my favourite show (if that means anything). HAND.

Re:No this is where the U.S. made a mistake with I (2)

divisionbyzero (300681) | about 2 years ago | (#40369859)

The U.S. made a mistake with Iran with that stupid "Axis of Evil" speech. I'm still not sure why that speech isn't recognized as one of the biggest diplomatic blunders in recent history. First of all, lumping Iran and North Korea in with Iraq (who Bush planned to invade) served no good purpose. It was basically an open threat to Iran and North Korea that we were going to invade them next. And, not surprisingly, both responded by ramping up their nuclear weapons programs to a feverish pace (since nukes are basically the only way to ensure that the U.S. can't invade).

Iran was actually getting pretty moderate before that speech, even sending open condolences and holding vigils after 9-11, with fairly moderate leadership. After the speech we get Ahmadinejad and and full-on nuke program. Smart move, George.

Agreed. But instead of being shunned for being the author of one of the most damaging speeches in American foreign policy history he gets a blog, a contributors spot on CNN, and gets to publish seven books.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/davidfrum.html [thedailybeast.com]

Clandestine not Covert (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369029)

Both words mean secret, but Covert actions are authorized, clandestine actions are not.

Barak Obama is not authorized to launch any military action except in defense of this country, and Iran poses no direct threat. Therefore an attack on Iran requires congressional approval. Whichever members of congress involved in approving this, please step up.

Obama is a traitor to the American people and needs immediately removed from office.

I don't understand (1)

Captain.Abrecan (1926372) | about 2 years ago | (#40369061)

As far as I know, power plants are not connected to the internet. The virus thingy only attacks powerplants. So there is nothing for it to do if it is on the internet. Correct me if I am wrong, I think this is all just media sensationalism about 'omg the hackerz!".

Re:I don't understand (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#40369345)

Like the legality of Sputnik in orbit over 'your' airspace, it opens a new area to weaponise.
Today "power plants", soon the billing/pension/social security systems? Add or remove 20% with direct debit/deposit in some parts of the world?
If a country votes the wrong way in the UN? Make the sitting gov fall with a wave of cyber "thingy"?

Re:I don't understand (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#40369877)

As far as I know, power plants are not connected to the internet.

According to those who showed up for a related discussion a month or two ago, this cannot be assumed today. Management wants to be able to monitor this stuff from their home peecee.

The virus thingy only attacks powerplants. So there is nothing for it to do if it is on the internet.

Stuxnet "walked" across the airgap on a contractor's usb key.

Correct me if I am wrong, I think this is all just media sensationalism about 'omg the hackerz!".

The last I heard, it set back Iran's uranium enrichment program two years. I imagine it likely fanned the flames of Iran's policy makers, so when the hammer eventually falls, it's *really* going to fall. Good work, cyberwarriors! Gun, meet foot.

Stuxnet was approved by Bush initially (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369081)

NPR has a report on Stuxnet, it's origins and why it was created... it was in development since 2005 and didn't get approval until 2007 and guess who was president then? Bush! Obama said yes to it anyway for the same reasons as Bush did, so please NYT, stop making this political.

kind of absurd (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40369089)

all countries are doing this, and have been doing this, for years

i never understood this "single out the USA for what everyone does" nonsense

it seems like a defect in one's ability to keep perspective to me

Re:kind of absurd (2)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#40369257)

Well, partly people single out the US because it is so powerful. When weaker nations do stuff the impact is limited, when the US does something it can be kinda scary because no one can really stop them... and that makes everyone a bit nervous.

This includes people in the US. While there has been a lot of rhetoric about not needing a 'balance of power' in the world, in the end, such balance ends up being good for citizens. In a way, as citizens, out greatest ally is people on the outside who counter our government because we generally do not have the leverage to do so.

Though I agree, there is a serious disconnect between the reality of what every country does and the cleaned up mythology that people tend to view government actions through, so when stories like this come up people are shocked because political speeches and press reports rarely give a good idea of what actual international politics is like. This is bad all around.

Re:kind of absurd (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#40369443)

No, most pasts of the world left this to university networks, private isp's, botnets, telcos/banks with backdoors over a short time...
Their security services could be running many legal compromised savants, gangs, political groups - but it was always a distant, deniable, criminal or just hijinks.
This is new in its directness.

The only solution (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#40369099)

Workers revolution to smash imperialism! Forward to sociaism!!!!!!

NIMBY? (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about 2 years ago | (#40369123)

The argument put forward is not really that using these methods are "making things worse" - although that is opening gambit.

The real guts of the argument is that cyberattacks "will lead to the militarization of cyberspace, and the transformation of the Internet into something much less free and open" .. for that argument, I have some sympathy

Ultimately, this boils down to don't do your dirty work in the air, on the ground and at sea but not in my playground ...

Re:NIMBY? (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about 2 years ago | (#40369145)

Ooops - i meant "actually do your dirty work in the air, on the ground and at sea but not in my playground" not "dont do that" .. quite different ;-)

Leaker-In-Chief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369131)

I have to wonder if the administration would have leaked this info if there wasn't an election pending.

To all those knee jerking that Repubs would do it too, man, that's a pretty low bar.

No Disrespect, But... (2, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 2 years ago | (#40369151)

Bruce Schneier is NOT a diplomat and has fuck all experience in dealing with international affairs. And what sort of Diplomacy are we supposed to use when "Stern Letter Writing", "UN Inspections" and threats fail? Obama showed quite a bit of creativity and tact in performing an elaborate Cyber-Attack that left our best Security Researchers stumped for months and seems to have worked quite well in derailing their bomb making efforts.

Would Schneier prefer we have gone ahead with Israel's agenda and bombed the suspected weapons making facilities and risked killing people -- even civilians? Or is he just the sort of Freedom Loving Pacifist that would have us dawdling around writing more "Sternly Worded Letters" until Iran finally trotted out a bomb and wiped out an entire city full of people?

Re:No Disrespect, But... (-1, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40369407)

Bruce Schneier is NOT a diplomat and has fuck all experience in dealing with international affairs. And what sort of Diplomacy are we supposed to use when "Stern Letter Writing", "UN Inspections" and threats fail? Obama showed quite a bit of creativity and tact in performing an elaborate Cyber-Attack that left our best Security Researchers stumped for months and seems to have worked quite well in derailing their bomb making efforts.

Would Schneier prefer we have gone ahead with Israel's agenda and bombed the suspected weapons making facilities and risked killing people -- even civilians? Or is he just the sort of Freedom Loving Pacifist that would have us dawdling around writing more "Sternly Worded Letters" until Iran finally trotted out a bomb and wiped out an entire city full of people?

I think he is one of those close-minded liberals who think that Muzzies are just "reasonable folk", and that they all know that though the Quran tells them to kill non-Muslims and rape their women they all have enough humanity to see that "it is just meant figuratively".

Re:No Disrespect, But... (2)

radtea (464814) | about 2 years ago | (#40369457)

Or is he just the sort of Freedom Loving Pacifist that would have us dawdling around writing more "Sternly Worded Letters" until Iran finally trotted out a bomb and wiped out an entire city full of people?

Ah, cowardice and fear-mongering, the ever-eager fellow travelers of the security-industrial complex!

When you have an actual argument, do please make it. Until then your reliance on invalid assumption and misleading innuendo makes you look pretty stupid. After all, everyone knows that war is dead last in terms of efficient, effective ways of solving international disputes, just as interpersonal violence is the least effective and inefficient way of solving private disputes. If you don't advocate interpersonal violence you can't consistently advocate war: they are equally stupid, and likewise largely ineffective, and always hideously inefficient.

With regard to the "Iranian bomb": Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. We know this from a very simple piece of evidence: they don't have them.

The Israelis have been accusing Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons for twenty years. It took barely four years to build them from scratch the first time, with much of the basic technology being invented along the way, by a nation with far fewer technological advantages than those enjoyed by modern Iranians simply by virtue of being modern. There is no possible way any nation-state could pursue nuclear weapons today for more than five years and not have them.

Ergo: the "Iranian bomb" is fear-mongering propaganda invented by cowards to justify looting the productive economy for the benefit of the dead-weight loss security-industrial complex. Good luck with that!

Re:No Disrespect, But... (2)

should_be_linear (779431) | about 2 years ago | (#40369485)

And what sort of Diplomacy are we supposed to use when "Stern Letter Writing", "UN Inspections" and threats fail?

As an EU person, may I suggest to our US friends another option: when "Stern Letter Writing" and "UN Inspections" threats fail in Iran, to provide healthcare for poor people in US?

Re:No Disrespect, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369561)

As an EU person, may I suggest to our US friends another option: when "Stern Letter Writing" and "UN Inspections" threats fail in Iran, to provide healthcare for poor people in US?

Truly you have a dizzying intellect.

Re:No Disrespect, But... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#40369533)

Bruce Schneier is NOT a diplomat and has fuck all experience in dealing with international affairs.

I've been pointing this out for years - Schneier has pretty much no experience or knowledge in 90% of what he pontificates about.

Re:No Disrespect, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369657)

Nuclear weapons, the bigger, the better. Oh, and lots of them. Turn their desert into a mirror. So what if the earth cools down, don't we need that too?

Re:No Disrespect, But... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40369939)

I think to Schneier this sort of thing is like going as far as using mustard gas - a line that shouldn't be crossed because then you get it coming right back at you from the other side.
Of course it's an analogy and I'm sure nobody is stupid enough to reply that gas is far worse because it's a completely different thing. I'm just giving an example of another line that most nations will not cross for fear of backlash.

Also, get a grip on reality. Iran gains nothing by nuking Israel but various leaders there have gained a lot of political influence by rattling sabres and selling a few Shah era rockets at a discount to anyone that hates Israel. It's almost all talk. The nukes are more likely to be used in standover tactics against nearby Arab nations which is why the Saudis are shit scared of Iran getting nukes.

Stop and consider the source... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369251)

There is only one source who says they have "evidence" and keeps pointing the finger at the US and Israel about Stuxnet, Flame, and other Trojans, and that is Kaspersky, which is a Russian AV company. Nobody else out there, be it Panda, Symantec, McAfee, or independent researchers makes these conclusions. It might just be me, but it appears that there might be a political agenda here.

Russia has a lot to gain by making the US appear at fault for these Trojans. There is a battle now for who runs the Net, either the US or the UN. With enough propaganda, it is possible they can wrest control of the Internet from ICANN. Result: You think SOPA/PIPA were bad, now think of some country you never lived in dictating the rules and fees for your website in your own country. Post a snide comment about the rulers in Thailand, in a few hours, your domain and IP have been pulled. Unlike the US which caves into international pressure and is smart enough to not fool around with anti-US sites (Pravda, Al-Jazeera), there is no stopping a UN backed replacement for the ICANN to do whatever it pleases. Unlike the US where the paid for fat-cats will back off when sites like Google shut down, China and Russia don't kowtow to public opinion, and PIPA/SOPA/ACTA and all that other stuff can easily become the de facto world law just because the one ruling body says so.

Is this leaked to show Obama has stamina? (0)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 2 years ago | (#40369263)

Either way, this shows Obama has stamina, like it or not.

Re:Is this leaked to show Obama has stamina? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369327)

Stamina? Really??

This was leaked to pander to people for votes. But then, people that seem to be for the man are operating in a world removed from the one we call reality to begin with.

Nobel Peace Prize winner (3, Funny)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 years ago | (#40369291)

I wonder if that Nobel Peace Prize burns in his hand yet.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize winner (2)

mathimus1863 (1120437) | about 2 years ago | (#40369789)

Two options: take military action against Iran to prevent them destabilizing the region, and possibly starting a war. OR write a computer virus that stops them from destabilizing the region without violating any airspace, starting wars, or killing anyone.

If doing nothing and letting Israel bomb Iran possibly leading to war is your version of "peace", then I'm glad you're not in charge. Life isn't always pleasant, sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two bad situations. In this case, no one died, no one got invaded, no bombs were dropped. That may not be worthy of a peace prize in itself, but it certainly doesn't violate one.

No enforceable treaty is possible on this. (3, Interesting)

anwyn (266338) | about 2 years ago | (#40369299)

There is no way to prove whether a nation is engaged in offensive cyber warfare. It will always be possible to say those things were done by criminals and malefactors. "The secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions." If those leaks had happened in China, the leakers would be shot and their families billed for the bullets. Therefore, if a treaty is signed, it will be a one-way treaty partially enforceable in the West only.

It would be colossally foolish to sign such a treaty.

I can not imagine such a treaty being ratified.

Therefore, baton down the hatches a storm is coming.

The Mistake? (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#40369301)

The real mistake was getting caught, or was it? The article says "Stuxnet didn't just damage the Natanz nuclear facility; it damaged the U.S.'s credibility as a fair arbiter and force for peace in cyberspace"

Was the US government ever seen as a "fair arbiter and force for peace in cyberspace". Yes, many Americans played that role, but the official government?

Deterrence only works if the other side thinks that you have better weapons and will use them. It's entirely possible that "Getting Caught" was a calculated risk, planned from the beginning. Unofficial channels may have sent the messge, "We were easy on you this time, back off, or next time we take off the gloves." Certainly, after you get caught, that's the way you want to spin it.

Nobody ever won a war by following rules (4, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#40369325)

The pacific portion of WWII ended because we annihilated two cities - civilians and all - and threatened to to turn the island of Japan into a wasteland. War sucks, and shouldn't need to exist, but it does. Good? Bad? Think of it this way - do you want to be the country that doesn't have nuclear weapons because they're "against the rules," or do you want to have them because - rules or not - people are much less likely to fuck with you if they know you can destroy them?

Re:Nobody ever won a war by following rules (1)

lexa1979 (2020026) | about 2 years ago | (#40369575)

you're talking about Iran here right ? Nice to help people finally understand why Iran wants nuke...

Re:Nobody ever won a war by following rules (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40369873)

The pacific portion of WWII ended because we annihilated two cities

Yeah, except there is just one problem with that Iran = WWII-Japan analogy. Iran never attacked us, isn't at war with us, and has absolutely no imperial ambitions. But other than that, sure, Iran is exactly like Imperial Japan in 1945.

Re:Nobody ever won a war by following rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369981)

has absolutely no imperial ambitions

Except for the whole annihilation of Israel thing... other than that... no, I guess not.

What constitutes "war"? (1)

akboss (823334) | about 2 years ago | (#40369383)

"War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will."- Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz Launching air strikes, drone attacks, stuxnet are all of these not an act of war? If say North Korea launched air strikes on US soil wouldnt we be upset just a little? How about if they only used drones to hit their enemies on our land? How about if they unleashed stuxnet towards our nuclear plants? But it is ok for us to do it?

Stupidest thing I ever heard (1)

KingTank (631646) | about 2 years ago | (#40369543)

How the hell would you enforce a "cyber-arms" ban? It would be easier to ban actual arms. Like a worldwide gun ban.

Glass half full... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369551)

You know what, this is good. Do you know why? Because now when someone asks themselves why something like 9/11 happened, you can point out and say. This. Some reflection might follow.

Lesser of two evils ... (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#40369683)

Schiener is kind of going off the deep end these days. He's getting a little too preachy, starting to sound like a laid back RMS.

The reality of it is however, Stuxnet was a far better alternative than any of the likely alternatives such as explosives or other deadly methods of stopping the program.

Seriously, why is it that every time we find a safer, less lethal/damaging way to accomplish the same thing some idiot comes around and pretends that its going to be the end of the world even though its thousands of times less damaging than the bomb it replaced.

Sure, in isolation it was a bad call but given (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | about 2 years ago | (#40369777)

the alternatives, invasion or air bombardment, it seems reasonable.

Allegations, alegations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40369857)

"It's written in the papers, so it must be true!" (a saying by one Craig Ferguson of the Late Late Show).

Unless I see some evidence or admission, this is just the usual pre-election tattle.

Hold on a moment (1)

theRunicBard (2662581) | about 2 years ago | (#40369975)

The wold will inevitably rely on cyberwarefare soon enough, much like how everyone uses computers now. And most people don't understand how a computer works so they just buy "friendly gadgets" that only expose the buttons and are otherwise cute, little boxes. If we apply that logic, aren't we going to end up designing Megaman soon?
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