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See articles since January 1, 2011

Top Middle East story of 2010: The Stuxnet virus

Dec. 30, 2010 - 60% of Jerusalem Post readers said that the story about the Stuxnet virus was the biggest Middle East story of the year. Some computer experts say that it set Iran's nuclear weapons back by two years. Iran says it was not a major problem.
What is for sure is that the sophisticated piece of malware ... is likely just the beginning when it comes to the use of cyberwarfare in global efforts to stop Iran. Some have compared it to the entrance of the airplane or tank into the modern battlefield.
Source: Jerusalem Post

'Stuxnet virus set back Iran’s nuclear program by 2 years'

Dec. 16, 2010 - A German computer consultant, identified as "Langer," told reporters that the Stuxnet virus, which is generally agreed to be an Israeli invention, was very successful in slowing down Iran's nuclear development.
“It will take two years for Iran to get back on track,” Langer said in a telephone interview from his office in Hamburg, Germany. “This was nearly as effective as a military strike, but even better since there are no fatalities and no full-blown war. From a military perspective, this was a huge success.”
Source: Jerusalem Post

Stuxnet virus traced to Israel: 'Everything before was kid's stuff'

Oct. 22, 2010 - German cybersecurity expert, Ralph Langner, says that Israel designed the Stuxnet computer virus that has appearently been embedded in the control systems of Iran's 1,000 megawatt Bushehr reactor. The word "myrtus." or Myrtle tree is evidence that it came from Israeli sources. Langner called the attack "the first operation in history that uses a cyberweapon that created physical destruction."
Iran has acknowledged Stuxnet as well as damage to facilities around the country. In mid-October, Teheran reported the arrest of several nuclear technicians employed by Russia's state-owned Atomstroyexport, prime contractor of Bushehr.
Source: WorldTribune

Iran may have executed nuclear staffers over Stuxnet

Oct. 11, 2010 - Iran has apparently put to death a number of atomic scientists and technicians whom they believed helped plant the Stuxnet virus in its nuclear program. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization, admitted last week that Western espionage had successfully penetrated its nuclear program.
The Bushehr reactor has faced one delay after another since it was inaugurated in August and other nuclear plants are functioning only partially since the virus first surfaced last July.
Source: DEBKAfile
Security and Defense: Nuclear worming - Jerusalem Post

Spy's death linked to Iran computer-virus attack?

Oct. 1, 2010 - Emergence of the Stuxnet worm may shed light on the mysterious death of of Government Communications Headquarter spy Gareth Williams. He was a member of a team that has been tracking Stuxnet.
Iran now has confirmed that the software – called Stuxnet – has infected its first nuclear power station... Mahmoud Liayi, head of the Information Technology Council at the Ministry of Industries in Tehran, said "electronic war has been launched against Iran."
Source: WorldNetDaily
New York Times links Iran worm to Bible - YNet
Iran is bent on avenging cyber attack, raising military tensions - DEBKAfile
Russian experts flee Iran, escape dragnet for cyber worm smugglers - DEBKAfile
Iran is bent on avenging cyber attack, raising military tensions - DEBKAfile

An alarmed Iran asks for outside help to stop rampaging Stuxnet malworm

Sept. 30, 2010 - Intelligence sources indicate that Iran has secretly offered high fees for help from European experts with their computer problems. The focus is the Stuxnet worm, "spreading havoc through the computer networks and administrative software of its most important industrial complexes and military command centers."

It is believed that they have not received help yet because they refuse to provide precise information on the sensitive centers and systems under attack.

Source: DEBKAfile
Iran puts off Bushehr nuclear plant launch to early 2011 - Haaretz
Has the West declared cyberwar on Iran? - The Independent - U.K.

Could Iran retaliate for apparent cyber attack?

Sept. 29, 2010 - Iran will probably not devulge the extent of damage caused by the Stuxnet worm on its nuclear development program, but it is known that they have had unexplained technical problems that have cut the number of working centrifuges in its uranium enrichment program.

Now the discussion has turned to what retalliation Iran might have to the damage. Experts do not think Iran has the the capability to retaliate in kind by developing its own attack programs and unleash them against Israel or the U.S. But they may they might employ more conventional responses, such as curtailing oil shipping through the Persian Gulf and Straits of Hormuz.


Stuxnet malware is 'weapon' out to destroy ... Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant?

Sept. 22, 2010 - Maybe the reason the U.S. or Israel has not attacked Iran's nuclear facilities is that a computer virus was sent to do the job.
The Stuxnet malware has infiltrated industrial computer systems worldwide. Now, cyber security sleuths say it's a search-and-destroy weapon meant to hit a single target. One expert suggests it may be after Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant.
Experts who are studying the software do not know who developed it, but they have determined it was designed to destroy one specific target--presumably Iran's Bushehr nuclear installation, but has evidently infected other nuclear facilities in various countries. It apparently has the ability to cause the control computers in these targets to allow malfunctions of equipment that could cause it to self-destruct.

The attackware may have already disabled the Bushehr plant. It was expected to startup in late August, but has been delayed.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Cyber Attack Drill Finds U.S. Unprepared For Doomsday Scenarios

Feb. 18, 2010 - In a simulated cyber attack, the U.S. could not stop malware that spread via people's personal computers and smartphones.
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the United States isn't prepared to respond to an attack on its computer networks. An exercise conducted earlier this week found that critical communication and electrical power systems could be seriously affected.
The scenario involved a complete power grid collapse, and it demonstrated that officials were unable to handle the situation.
Source: All Headline News

Obama Surrendering Internet to Foreign Powers

Feb. 2, 2010 - Control of the Internet is in the hands of U.S Department of Commerce and their agencies, but President Obama is relinquishing some of that control to foreign entities.
The Obama Administration¹s current actions will set in motion a slow and complete take-over of the Internet by the U.N. or some other equally U.S. hostile and unfriendly international body.
Source: Newsmax

China proves to be an aggressive foe in cyberspace

Nov. 11, 2009 - Although Chinese authorities deny the facts, Chinese cyber-attacks have succeeded in hacking into a vast array of U.S. government computer systems.
"This is the way they plan to thwart U.S. supremacy in any potential conflict we get into with them," said Robert K. Knake, a Council on Foreign Relations fellow. "They believe they can deter us through cyber warfare."
A senior Air Force official said that he believes China has stolen at least 10 to 20 terabytes of data from U.S. government networks!
Source:Washington Post

Terrorists could use internet to launch nuclear attack: report

July 24, 2009 - A study released by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) warns that, under the right circumstances, terrorists could break into computer systems and cause a series of events that could lead to the launching of a nuclear attack.
In fact, says the study, "this may be an easier alternative for terrorist groups than building or acquiring a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb themselves".
Hackers could feed false information that might cause computers or officials to be confused so that they would respond with the nuclear option.
Source:Guardian - UK
International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

North Korea May Be Behind Wave of Cyberattacks

Jul7 8, 2009 - Eleven official South Korean websites and several U.S. government websites were paralyzed during 4th of July attacks. It is believed that North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces committed the cyber attacks.
In the U.S., the Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department Web sites were all down at varying points over the July 4 holiday weekend and into this week, according to American officials inside and outside the government.
Source: Fox

U.S. Under Siege from Chinese, Russian Cyber-Attackers

April 9, 2009 - According to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, cyberspies from Russia and China have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system.
Source: NewsMax

No problems so far as April Fools' computer worm awakens

Apr. 1, 2009 - The computer worm called Conflicker.c may have infected as many as 10 million PCs, and is set to become more active on April Fool's Day. Computers with updated virus protection are generally safe, and there have been no reports of problems so far.
Source: CNN

Nato's cyber defence warriors

Feb. 3, 2009 - Nato established a cyber defence policy was set up after a wave of cyber attacks on Nato member Estonia in 2007, and more recent attacks on Georgia.
Nato officials have told the BBC their computers are under constant attack from organisations and individuals bent on trying to hack into their secrets.
Source: BBC

CIA Overseeing 3-Day War Game on Internet

May 26, 2005 -"Silent Horizon," a three-day war game is being conducted now to test the ability of government and industry to respond to escalating Internet disruptions. The CIA is in charge of the operation. Details are not known.

Anti-virus software losing fight against computer infection

Sept. 3, 2003 - Matthew Williamson, a Hewlett-Packard researcher warns that current methods of spotting and stopping computer viruses are inadequate. By the time a patch is devised and distributed, infections like the Slammer, MSBlaster and SoBig, will have already been affected. The next generation of viruses will be even more rapid.
One called Flash Worm could infect an entire PC network within 15 seconds, while a type called the Warhol Worm could spread worldwide within just 15 minutes.
Source:Yahoo/ AP - From New Scientist (Story no longer on line)

Klez: The Virus That Won't Die?
July 8, 2002 - A new version of the Klez worm is infecting many computers. Klez has been around for seven months already. It can do serious damage to one's computer, is very hard to stop, and illustrates the dangers ahead for even worse cyber-attacks.
Source:PC World

New worm infects the net
Aug. 6, 2001 - Code Red II may be more effective, but those who have patched their systems against Code Red are safe. It only targets machines using Windows 2000 and running Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). +
Source: BBC

'Code Red' Effects Go Undetected
Aug. 1, 2001 - There were not immediate problems on the Internet caused by the "Code Red" worm, but Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, a computer security think-tank, says that the original attack seven days to hit its stride, and we won't know for sure for another seven days that the crisis is past.
Source: Washington Post
Update - Aug. 2 - Code Red threat tailing off - The worm has attacked over 180,000 computers now, but is slowing down. - BBC

Today: Internet Worm - Code Red Alert
July 31, 2001 - A Very Real and Present Threat to the Internet
The Code Red infection is expected to strike again tonight, spreading rapidly throughout the Internet. On July 19, 2001, the worm infected more than 250,000 systems in just 9 hours. Tonight's activity could be massive enough to cause Internet outages.
Who Must Act? Every organization or person who has Windows NT or Windows 2000 systems AND the IIS web server software may be vulnerable. IIS is installed automatically for many applications. If you are using Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me, there is no action that you need to take in response to this alert.
Source: Carnegie Mellon Institute

Cyberwar the coming threat
July 2, 2001 - More than 30 countries now have well developed programs for waging computer war
Source: BBC

Russia, China Working on Cyber Warfare -US Official
June 21, 2001 - Lawrence Gershwin, the national intelligence officer for science and technology, told Congress' Joint Economic Committee that Russia and China appear to be developing computer-based tools with the potential to do long-lasting harm to the U.S. economy.
Source: Yahoo News (Story no longer on line)

Hacking 'is now bigger threat than terrorism'
Mar. 30, 2001 - British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook warned that cybercrime could cause more damage than a military strike or a terrorist campaign.
He said that the electronic technology controlling essential services such as water, power and transport had become a leading target for terrorists and other groups who wanted to disrupt the life of the nation.
Mr Cook gave a graphic account of how terrorists or anti-capitalist protesters could wreak havoc in a modern economy such as Britain's if they managed to gain access to the computer systems of the key public services.
Source: Electronic Telegraph (Story no longer on line)

Everything Hacked but the Budget
Feb. 17, 2000 - Attorney General Janet Reno and the FBI plan to use the recent cyber attacks as an excuse to impose more governmental control and surveillance, funded by larger appropriations.
Source: Wired News

When states go to cyber war
Feb. 16, 2000 - A short fictional scenario about the "First World Wide Web War" set in the near future envisions the destruction of utilities, transportation, banking, and telecommunications in a short, mysterious war on the Internet.
The kind of disruption once possible only with a battery of intercontinental missiles now seems achievable at the click of a mouse.
Source: BBC

Revealed: German behind Net chaos
Feb. 14, 2000 - A 20 year old German, known only as Mixter, supplied the software used by last week's attack against E-commerce sites on the Internet. The program is called Tribal Flood Network. He denounced the actual use of his program last week as pointless.
The Observer (Story no longer on line)

Cyber attacks traced to California
Feb. 12, 2000 - Computers at the University of California at Stanford and Santa Barbara were involved in the recent attacks of E-commerce sites, but it is still unknown who is responsible.
Source: BBC

U.S. Vows to Go After Internet Vandals
Feb. 9, 2000 - For three days major E-commerce sites have been shut down by being flooded with communications from hundreds of computers, while operators of those computers had no knowledge of the attack. It is possible that the massive operation was all controlled by one person whose identity and location are hidden.
The attacks began Monday against Yahoo Inc., the largest independent Web site, then spread Tuesday to leading retailers Buy.com Inc., eBay Inc., Amazon.com Inc. Time Warner Inc.'s CNN.com news site.
On Wednesday the online brokerage E-Trade Group Inc., and a technology news site ZDNet Inc were targeted
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno has announced a criminal investigation into the matter, though " law enforcement officials conceded they had scant idea of who or what they were up against." (Story no longer on line)
Yahoo Full Coverage of Hacker Attacks

Space Command readies for infowar
Jan. 6, 2000 - This coming October, the United States Space Command will assume the lead for military computer network attacks.
Genreal Richard Meyer likened the current use of computer attack tools to the early introduction of aircraft into warfighting.
Source:UPI (Story no longer on line)

Internet warfare concerns admiral
From article by Bill Gertz
Nov. 18, 1999 - Vice Adm. Thomas Wilson, the new director of the Defense Intelligence Agency says they have set up a special joint task force known as the Computer Defense Network.
Yesterday a Chinese report claimed that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is gearing up for wartime computer attacks on networks and the Internet.
The Chinese report appeared Thursday in the Liberation Army Daily, official newspaper of the Communist Party-run political department of the PLA. It coincided with other statements by Chinese military leaders in recent weeks about China's growing offensive military capabilities.
Source: Washington Times (Story no longer on line)

Russian hackers steal US weapons secrets
July 25, 1999 - Security experts warn that America may be losing the world's first "cyber war". For the past six months, while we have been preoccupied with fixing the Y2K problem, extensive cyper-attacks have occured at many military and commercial computing centers via the internet. Officials fear that Russia may have stolen some of the nation's most sensitive military secrets, including weapons guidance systems and naval intelligence codes. They refer to the intelligence offensive as Operation Moonlight Maze.
American experts have long warned of a "digital Pearl Harbor" in which an enemy exploits America's reliance on computer technology to steal secrets or spread chaos as effectively as any attack using missiles and bombs.
Source:The Sunday Times (UK)/ WorldNetDaily (Story no longer on line)

Can We Buy Back Our Supercomputer, Please?
July 23, 1999 - A supercomputer used in nuclear research was supposedly sold for use as spare parts, but is apparently being refurbished for use by the Chinese in their own nuclear program.
Now DOE officials are engaged in a standoff with the purchaser and endeavoring desperately to persuade him to sell the system back to Sandia for $2.5 million. However, he is proving intransigent.
Source:Insight On The News Online (Story no longer on line.)

Declassified version of the report about Chinese espionage. Source: CNN Interactive

China blames US carelessness for nuclear espionage
April 30, 1999 - Forced by circumstances to admit that they had obtained virtually all our nuclear secrets, Chinese officials blamed the situation on simple American carelessness. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said:
"If there has been a leak of secrets, that is their own affair . . . We have never stolen nuclear or military secrets from the United States." It was for America to decide whether it should tighten security procedures.
Apparent translation: This information was GIVEN to us.
Source: Electronic Telegraph (Story no longer on line)

Kosovo Antagonists Wage Net War
April 10, 1999 - Use of the Internet is a significant part of the war: (Story no longer on line)

Information Warfare
March, 1999 - This Popular Mechanics' article is about the danger of disruption of military and other critical coumputer systems. It shows how vulnerable we are to hackers. It also asks the question, since it is such a threat to our security, will the United States strike first? Some say that we have already done so through chips programmed by the NSA and installed in computers for foreign use.
German Army Gen. Klaus Naumann corroborated the existence of a Pentagon program. In an interview published in Aviation Week & Space Technology last year, he acknowledged that NATO was developing its own IW capability. He said that until that capability came online the Western alliance would rely on the Pentagon.
(Story no longer on line)

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