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ACM Opinion

Beware the Cyber War Boomerang?

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The leak prone governments of the United States and Israel seem to be competing to claim credit for a cyber war attack on Iran's nuclear weapons program, while officially refusing to confirm or deny their role in the "Stuxnet" computer worm.

Stuxnet, in case you have missed all the leaks, is the name the computer security companies have agreed on to denote the most sophisticated, most targeted computer attack ever seen. It was launched in late 2008 or early 2009 and became publicly known mid-way through 2010 when Iran hired a computer security company from Belarus to find out why the nuclear enrichment program was not working.

The short version of the story that is now widely accepted is that a nation state (or two) had someone with a thumb drive deposit a very smart attack program on the computer network that runs Iran's nuclear centrifuges. The program stealthily caused the centrifuges to malfunction and may have thereby slowed the Iranian nuclear program by from one to three years. We appear to have avoided dropping Israeli bombs by infiltrating American bytes.

From ABC News
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