Saturday, June 2, 2012

Good News, Bad News

The good news - the US and Israel created the Stuxnet virus to destroy the centrifuges in Iran being used to enrich uranium. I suspected this was probably true, but it's nice to have it "confirmed" (to the extent that national security secrets are ever really confirmed).

This is actually doubly good news, because it means that

a) Somebody in the administration is actually doing something active to try to prevent (delay is probably a better word) the Iranian nuclear program. I thought the unofficially stated policy was 'We'll keep holding talks about talks until they develop a bomb, then announce that there's nothing that can be done since they've already got the bomb'.

b) My earlier presumption that the US was clueless about using cyberwarfare and was just being schooled by the Chinese might be incorrect. I still imagine we're being schooled by the Chinese, but it looks like (thankfully) the margin may be less than I thought. The mitigating factor was always that Chinese attacks on the US were likely to be exposed (since the US has a free press), but US attacks on China would only be exposed if China felt that it was in their interests to expose it, which would be less common.

The bad news is that Stuxnet wasn't meant to spread in the wild, it was only meant to stay in the centrifuges. So it wasn't as good as planned. It also fits into a), in the sense that US attacks appear to be designed so that nobody ever finds out about them.

But I'm still definitely calling this as a net win, and my opinion of the NSA has gone up.

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