The Worm: An Inside Job
The Stuxnet computer worm, reported to have been released in 2009 and largely quarantined in 2010, is one of the world’s most closely guarded secrets. It is reported to have destroyed approximately 20% of Iran’s nuclear uranium enrichment capabilities and to have set back that nation’s nuclear ambitions by approximately three years.
No one has come forward claiming responsibility for the attack. The U.S. and Israel are widely accused of masterminding the operation. But I think it is wise to look within Iran itself to help unravel the mystery of who is behind the Stuxnet worm. I believe it is a reasonable to theorize that Stuxnet was an inside job. Or at least with some cooperation from the Iranian halls of power. But the truth is hard to come by. CBS “60 Minutes” recently reported on the Stuxnet black hole of secrecy.
About two weeks ago, another obscure report emerged from the UK in The Muslim News. The report claimed that former and current U.S. intelligence officials are admitting that Iranian proxies were involved in the efforts to stop nuclear proliferation in their nation, including Iranian nuclear materials and equipment being sabotaged and Iranian nuclear scientists being assassinated. Specifically, these US intelligence operatives are fingering Iranians for the Stuxnet hit. This builds on evidence that a Persian internal siege is underway within Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats that no one is safe from his retaliatory nuclear reach.
There are three main reasons we can conclude Stuxnet was an inside job. And the reasons, if proven to be true, can change the course of our foreign policy, save innocent lives, and reduce the suffering of millions of other innocents.
Reason #1: Several reports have leaked that Stuxnet was primarily introduced into the computer system at the nuclear reactor in Bushehr, Iran with a thumb-drive. It would be technically possible but highly unlikely to come through the internet where more protection against hackers exits. This means either an agent of an outside government was physically present inside the nuclear reactor at Bushehr and inserted a thumb-drive into a targeted computer, or an Iranian proxy was. Gaining security clearance for entry into the Bushehr reactor, inserting the thumb drive into specific computers that had configurations of programs and hardware precisely targeting German manufacturer Siemans’ centrifuges would require such familiarity, it is difficult to imagine a foreign spy getting in so deep. As has been the case with our U.S. classified intelligence breaches, it has been one of our own who has betrayed the motherland.
Reason #2: How could someone with any sense release Stuxnet so blindly over-confident or so blindly stupid. It defies logic because they had to know that the worm would eventually be found. It is the nature of cyber development. Like a cat and mouse game. Virus meets fix or patch. When the coding for Stuxnet was unearthed by individuals and agencies around the world, they knew what every computer programmer and beyond knew. The code is a blueprint. It can be copied and redeployed. It can be turned against its creator. The accusation that our government or the Israelis would foolishly give away a blueprint for the destruction of our own nuclear facilities is beyond belief. Surely, those with the necessary intellect to create and release Stuxnet knew they were throwing a boomerang. Only those who have no nuclear facilities to be counter-attacked or who wish for the self-destruction of their own nuclear facilities would throw the boomerang.Continued on the next page