Thursday, February 14, 2013

Obama Ordered Stuxnet Virus. Impeachable Offense?

Obama Ordered Stuxnet Virus, Part of Organized Cyberattacks Against Iran

Cyberattacks Escalated Obama's cyberattack order significantly expands the historical use of cyberweapons in the United States. Wikimedia Commons
According to a report today in the New York Times, President Obama secretly ordered accelerated cyberattacks against the computers running Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities.
Started by the Bush administration in 2006, the stealth operation went under the handle "Olympic Games" and a major part of the project, a worm planted by spies meant to knock out enrichment facilities, went public in the summer of 2010 when the worm escaped Iran's Natanz plant because of a programming error and made it into the Internet. The president and other members of the administration then considered shutting it down, but ultimately let it continue. Two new versions of the worm hit the plant in the coming weeks and at one point shut down 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran was using to purify uranium. After that, the worm was discovered -- though its source was unknown -- and named Stuxnet. Observers marveled at how advanced the malware was.
According to the report, it's since been shut down, but Olympic Games as a whole is marching on.
source: CLICK HERE

Stuxnet virus origin confirmed: USA and Israeli governments

This week it has been confirmed that the computer virus known as Stuxnet which spread accidentally across the global internet in 2010 was created originally by the governments of the United States and Israel to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. The worm was originally created to sabotage and shake apart Iran’s nuclear program, and was part of a larger program code-named “Olympic Games.” This virus became public after what’s assumed to have been a rogue laptop transported the virus out to the global web.
The new information we have today comes from a New York Times article created after 18 months of interviews with “American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts.” The New York Times notes that none of the names of the people they interviewed will be shared due to the “highly classified” nature of the program.
Interviewees suggest that the effort was actually successful in setting back Iran’s nuclear weapons program “18 months to two years” despite the accidental leak of the virus at the center of it all. To get the worm into the Iranian facility they’d targeted, Stuxnet was placed on a USB flash drive.
“Getting the worm into Natanz, however, was no easy trick. The United States and Israel would have to rely on engineers, maintenance workers and others—both spies and unwitting accomplices—with physical access to the plant. “That was our holy grail,” one of the architects of the plan said. “It turns out there is always an idiot around who doesn’t think much about the thumb drive in their hand.”" – NYT
Since the software “escaped”, a word used many times in this report, the Stuxnet code was “found then disassembled by security researchers” according to Ars Technica. It appears though that the United States government has things well in hand at this point outside this situation – but do acknowledge the threat for the future.
“He repeatedly expressed concerns that any American acknowledgment that it was using cyberweapons — even under the most careful and limited circumstances — could enable other countries, terrorists or hackers to justify their own attacks. “We discussed the irony, more than once,” one of his aides said.” – NYT
read more HERE 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stuxnet is a computer worm discovered in June 2010 that is believed to have been created by the United States 
and Israel to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. Stuxnet initially spreads via Microsoft Windows, and targets Siemens
industrial software and equipment. While it is not the first time that hackers have targeted industrial systems,[1] 
it is the first discovered malware that spies on and subverts industrial systems,[2] and the first to include a 
The worm initially spreads indiscriminately, but includes a highly specialized malware payload that is designed to 
target only Siemens supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that are configured to control and 
monitor specific industrial processes.[5][6] Stuxnet infects PLCs by subverting the Step-7 software application that 
is used to reprogram these devices.[7][8]
Different variants of Stuxnet targeted five Iranian organizations,[9] with the probable target widely suspected to be 
uranium enrichment infrastructure in Iran;[8][10][11] Symantec noted in August 2010 that 60% of the infected 
computers worldwide were in Iran.[12] Siemens stated that the worm has not caused any damage to its 
customers,[13] but the Iran nuclear program, which uses embargoed Siemens equipment procured secretly, has 
been damaged by Stuxnet.[14][15] Kaspersky Lab concluded that the sophisticated attack could only have been 
conducted "with nation-state support".[16] This was further supported by the F-Secure's chief researcher 
Mikko Hyppönen who commented in a Stuxnet FAQ, "That's what it would look like, yes".[17]It has been 
speculated that Israel[18] and the United States may have been involved.[19][20]
In May 2011, the PBS program Need To Know cited a statement by Gary Samore, White House Coordinator for 
Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, in which he said, "we're glad they [the Iranians] are having 
trouble with their centrifuge machine and that we – the US and its allies – are doing everything we can to make 
sure that we complicate matters for them", offering "winking acknowledgement" of US involvement in Stuxnet.[21] 
According to The Daily Telegraph, a showreel that was played at a retirement party for the head of the Israel 
Defense Forces (IDF), Gabi Ashkenazi, included references to Stuxnet as one of his operational successes as 
the IDF chief of staff.[18]
On 1 June 2012, an article in The New York Times said that Stuxnet is part of a U.S. and Israeli intelligence 
operation called "Operation Olympic Games", started under President George W. Bush and expanded under 
President Barack Obama.[22]
On 24 July 2012, an article by Chris Matyszczyk from cnet[23] reported how the Atomic Energy Organization of 
Iran e-mailed F-Secure's chief research officer Mikko Hyppönen to report a new instance of malware.
On 25 December 2012, an Iranian semi-official news agency announced there was a cyberattack by Stuxnet,
 this time on the industries in the southern area of the country. The virus targeted a power plant and some other
 industries in Hormozgan province in recent months.[24]

Affected countries

A study of the spread of Stuxnet by Symantec showed that the main affected countries in the early days of the 
infection were Iran, Indonesia and India:[32]
CountryInfected computers
United States1.56%
Iran was reported to have "beefed up" its cyberwar capabilities following the Stuxnet attack, and has been 
suspected of retaliatory attacks against U.S. banks.[33]

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