10 August 2011

Stuxnet.


"Ralph Langner: Cracking Stuxnet, a 21st-century cyber weapon." 3/11.

4 comments:

Zenster said...

Outstanding analysis of a highly innovative approach to crippling Iran's nascent nuclear weapons program.

It was comforting beyond measure to hear speculation that the "warhead" portion of Stuxnet originated within America.

If only our government would direct an equal amount of attention towards mutilating China's cyber-attack infrastructure. Beijing's mandarins have hidden behind plausible deniability for far too long. Anyone in China running an unauthorized cyber-intrusion operation of such depth and magnitude as that we have seen coming from that nation would quickly find what was left of their post-interrogation body dissolving in a tub of lye.

China's persistent culture of patent violation, intellectual property theft and copyright violation needs to earn them some serious hardship. If it were not so damaging to America then I would vote for letting them continue with such practices as they totally smother innovation and creativity. Reliance upon cheating means that when competition is truly skill-based, you're out in the cold.

This is one explanation for China's massive modernization and buildup of its armed forces. Confronted with an endemic inability to cultivate true genius, Beijing will, much like Islam, find itself driven to appropriate that which it cannot originate.

Col. B. Bunny said...

That's an interesting point about Chinese aptitude for innovation. Alas, I fear that their massive theft of industrial and state secrets, as well as IP, is an effort not at all incompatible with native innovation.

I like the idea of retaliation against Chinese cyber attacks. Also, just cancelling our debt to them on the order of SWAG about actual damages X 3.

It's all drawing to a close, anyway, so the outrages and depredations of this moment are about to be switched out for another set. The changeover will be interesting and a few countries will get their comeuppance. Population levels around the world are not likely to stay high after the industrial nations pull back for an overhaul.

Lots of change but not a lot of hope. Obama will get his "fundamental transformation" of the U.S., but it won't look like anything he set out to create. Thank goodness.

Zenster said...

Col. B. Bunny: I like the idea of retaliation against Chinese cyber attacks. Also, just cancelling our debt to them on the order of SWAG about actual damages X 3.

Distasteful as it may be, I have also had thoughts about America informing the world that all debts will be honored save those held by China. The profound damage done by China's artificially low labor cost to this entire planet's industrial infrastructure is beyond measure.

Even something so simple as textiles is no small matter. What's the harm of letting China make our shirts and trousers? Ask Napoleon about the importance of winter uniforms.

America still has within its grasp the chance to revive its industrial base. The factories are shuttered but not yet torn down. Another decade or two will see that change and then the damage is irreversible at that point.

If you wish for a glimpse of total insanity, look into China's acquisition of IBM's Lenovo laptop computer line. This is the preferred brand for America's state department and, due to their ruggedness, it also remains popular with the military for prosecuting modern network-centric warfare.

Under the guise of being able to update software for units in the field, new Lenovo computers are equipped with a "here I am" interrogation feature. This allows the Chinese manufactory to determine precisely where a given laptop is at any time. Not such a bright idea if many of those units are in the hands of diplomats or deployed soldiers.

As if that sort of toxic stupidity is not depraved enough, State Department wonks were losing their Lenovo laptop computers ― often loaded with sensitive intelligence data ― with such regularity that they requested Lenovo to install a "kill" feature which allows a lost laptop to be dialed up by cell phone and "locked" until the appropriate password is entered.

Is there anyone willing to bet a plugged nickel that China has not installed a "back door" that might enable them to lock down any or all of these portable computers should the need arise?

Can we be any more stupid than to let Communist China have this degree of control over such a vital computational resource?

This is just one small example of how incredibly vulnerable our government has let itself become with respect to an avowed enemy like Communist China.

Col. B. Bunny said...

That's amazing about Lenovo.

The idea of "portable PC" and "classified info" is very odd.

I'll have to ask a software engineer I know about such things as back doors. I'd like to think there are checks to run to detect variations in chip architecture but even if there are I'm sure there's no systematic check.

I doubt we know the full extent of the price we're paying for being so beholden to China. The Japanese ran a blackmail op directed at the highest levels of our government. The Chinese just throw people at us -- students, tourists, business people.