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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Question In Light of Stuxnet

Who wants to be the one to flip the "on" switch at an Iranian nuclear facility now?
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  1. That will be part of end of life planning covered by medicare as part of our new socialized medicine.

    Didn't your read the bill?

  2. i still have a question of just how much this can hold back their nuke program. i mean we built fat boy with at best primitive computers that are outclassed by the common calculator today. i have more computing power in my phone than in those WWII era computers.

    So let me ask other commenters... is there really a good reason to think this could cripple their system for any time?

  3. Possibly, Stuxnet acts by diplaying pictures of scantily clad Western women eating pork, rendering the Iranian workstations unusable.

    This would largely allow Western computers to coninue in use.

  4. STUXNET appears to be working in the margin between computer and hardware. In the Manhattan Project some of the refining was done using machines called CALUTRONs which were operated by shifts of women known as "Calutron Girls." It was discovered fairly early in the project that when visiting scientists came to see the plant they would attempt to tweak the yield by making adjustments to the controls. In fact by the time that the operation was turned over to the girls the operating parameters had been well established. The visiting guests caused reduced output.

    The modern equivalent of the calutron girl is computer controlled process control. Instead of a girl watching a set of meters and adjusting controls, sensors built into the device report back to a programmable logic controller (PLC) which sends back signals to other controls and regulating the process.

    It appears that STUXNET is modifying the code in these PLC's and acting like the visiting scientists to reduce the efficiency of the process. It may even be true that STUXNET is damaging the equipment by making problems like hot bearings and incorrect lubricant pressure worse. Imagine the damage to a centrifuge running at full speed if a hub bearing seizes.

  5. I think commentators on this issue give too much weight to Iran being the place where Stuxnet was first found. It could be any country that uses a lot of stolen Windows that is never updated in the manufacturing control applications. So far anything I read that links Stuxnet to Iranian bomb program is pure speculation.

  6. First found in Belarus. Also in Indonesia and India. It has far more application for pressurizing pumps along an oil pipeline already running. More assumptions lean toward China having the motives behind this.