• United States



A Stuxnet story too strange to believe

Oct 20, 20113 mins
Data and Information Security

If this report is to be believed — and I don’t believe it for a second — Microsoft, Google and Oracle are collaborating with the US government to cripple Iran with a barrage of Stuxnet-inspired cannon fire.

The report, written by Richard Sale, appears in the Industrial Safety and Security Source ( website, which is billed as a site “devoted solely to keeping manufacturers current on safety, cyber and physical security news, products, features, applications and trends.”

The headline: “A New And Frightening Stuxnet,” annoys me straightaway because it plays more on people’s fears than on cold hard facts.

Everything is attributed to anonymous US officials. Here’s the opening:

Facing mounting concern about Iran’s nuclear program, a top U.S. and Israeli technical team has developed a computer “malworm” designed to take down all of Iran’s computer software.

ISSSource has learned leaders of the three major software companies, Sergey Brin at Google, Steve Ballmer at Microsoft and Larry Ellison at Oracle have been working with Israel’s top cyber warriors and have now come up with new version of a Stuxnet-like worm that can bring down Iran’s entire software networks if the Iranian regime gets too close to a breakout, according to U.S. intelligence sources. Google, Microsoft and Oracle had no comment on the issue.

Yeah. I’ll bet they had no comment.

“Cyber warfare is a lot like biological warfare. It’s hard to stop. It’s uncontrollable. It can bite you in the ass,” said one U.S. official.

This new version of Stuxnet was, until recently, seen as a tool to derail any notions of an Israel military surgical strike on Iran with the United States in a supporting role. During his visit to Israel, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta carried a U.S. message to Tel Aviv that President Barack Obama would not support a military strike on Iran, said a U.S. official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity. Israeli plans for an attack had alarmed the National Security Council and the Senate foreign policy committee when briefed on the Israeli proposal.

What strikes me as most bizarre is the alleged involvement of the major tech vendors.

This article is as weird as the Judith Miller column last week where she decided to stir the FUD pot with the suggestion that the recent BlackBerry outage was part of a vast, deadly terrorist plot. She even found a way to tie it in with the bio terror threat.

It’s not that I think these things can’t happen. Anything is possible.

But if your not backing your claims with solid evidence and names, it’s hard for me to take it seriously.

–Bill Brenner

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