Sunday, January 16, 2011

In Iran, the worm turned

Well, the New York Times has paused from exploiting the Tucson shooting long enough to report some real news: confirmation (more or less) that it was indeed an American-Israeli computer "worm" that that infiltrated Iran's nuclear bomb program some months ago and set it back by years.

It seems that the Israelis cloned the Persian effort at a facility in the Negev desert, while a German-American program identified the weaknesses in the Siemens computers that the company had sold to Iran. That enabled the Idaho National Laboratory to develop the target Stuxnet worm, which sent the centrifuges spinning out of control while sending normal readings back to the Iranian technicians.

Launched by the Bush administration, the effort was speeded up after President Obama took office. Bipartisanship we can believe in!

The worm was apparently distributed fairly widely, but was so brilliantly contrived that it would only damage the centrifuges that were its intended target. A pleasing irony in the whole program is that the centrifuges (from the Netherlands to Pakistan to Iran) were so crude that the Americans, when they tried to clone the Iranian plant, had a terrible time getting them to work. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, here I was, stranded as a guest in Provincetown with no internet and just THRILLED to learn that we were a part of Stuxnet. I was SO alone!


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