Cyberwarfare a dangerous path

I see that “cybersecurity” one of the agenda items in this week’s tete-a-tete between Foreign Minister Murray McCully, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp and their UK counterparts William Hague and Liam Fox.

The first question McCully and Mapp should ask the British ministers is “Are you going to challenge the United States on its resort to cyberwarfare?”

The New York Times says American and Israeli experts have inserted a sophisticated virus into the computer system governing the operation of Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme.

There should be no tolerance of cyberwarfare, which can be just as destructive as any other warfare. Also, it can spin out of control, once several governments get in to it. Any government attacked will think they have the right to respond in kind.

It is also now starting to be used against NGOs, as in the recent denial of service attacks on Wikileaks sites.

The other thing Murray McCully and Wayne Mapp should do is resist any pressure from the Brits to keep the SAS on in Afghanistan beyond the March 2011 planned withdrawal date. The botched December 24 raid in Kabul, where two Afghan security guards were killed, shows that the continued SAS presence is not helping our reputation among the Afghan people.

12 Comments Posted

  1. My apologies, i will also mention the moderate Iran regime’s belief that the Holocaust didnt happen and there are no gays in Iran

    Irrelevant, but do so if you wish.

    What controversy? The translation in the popular media was complete bollocks – has anyone ever suggested otherwise?

    Merely by printing it they suggested otherwise.

  2. “without even mentioning the controversy surrounding the translation of Ahmadinejad’s comments from Persian”

    What controversy? The translation in the popular media was complete bollocks – has anyone ever suggested otherwise?

    “i will also mention the moderate Iran regime’s belief that the Holocaust didnt happen and there are no gays in Iran”

    Ahmadinejad is not the entire Iranian government.

  3. My apologies, i will also mention the moderate Iran regime’s belief that the Holocaust didnt happen and there are no gays in Iran

  4. You should not talk of Iran wanting to “wipe Israel from the map” without even mentioning the controversy surrounding the translation of Ahmadinejad’s comments from Persian, and particularly then also extend it to claim that’s why they have a nuclear programme. Showing such a bias when accusing someone of bias rather defeats your purpose.

  5. Good to see Keith that you are condemning Iran’s nuclear programme and its constant breach of international protocols. But of course the last thing you would ever dream of doing is supporting the United States and Israel, or are you agreeing with the Iranian’s regime right to create a Nuclear weapon’s programme so its leaders dream of wiping Israel from the map can finally be realised?

  6. Stuxnet, its modes of operation, and its intending target has been a eye-opener for a lot of us.

    Heres the good stuff on the Symantec website. There’s a 64 page report there which is well worth a read.

    Stuxnet is a breakthrough event; Prior to Stuxnet, viruses, worms and trojans were a pain in the ass for IT people, and caused all sorts or embarrassment and data loss and exposure. But generally recoverable from, and generally not threatening to life.

    Now we have areal example of a worm which can do real damage. To quote the Symantec paper, “Stuxnet has highlighted direct-attack attempts on critical infrastructure are possible and not just theory or movie plotlines

    Stuxnet is clever in that it (or more accurately, its developers) knows that people with brains don’t connect process control systems (SCADA) and PLC programming systems to the internet, its all done on isolated networks, yet still it was able to propogate itself. A remarkable piece of work.

    Although Symnatec again notes that “Stuxnet is of such great complexity— requiring significant resources to develop — that few attackers will be capable of producing a similar threat“, I think they are missing the point. The PLC mangling part of Stuxnet, now we know how, can now be reproduced by any programmer worth his salt. Getting to the right PC could be as simple as the cleaner taking a USB stick in his pocket…

    The world has changed. For the scarier.

    And, of course, the USA have now told us that its OK to develop and deploy attacks on systems. But whereas it takes nation-level resources to go to real war, cyberwar can be mounted by a few lone wolves…

  7. So we should all hold hands and be ‘at one’ then. Ahhh how nice.
    Guess what, it’s happening anyway. We need to design simple backup systems and redundancies to keep critical systems able to operate on a stand-alone basis.

  8. Cyberwarfare is a very dangerous path for all countries. I recently read in newspapers that many countries are trying to collect some hidden information of its neighborhood countries through cyberwar that is not possible than other ways. Now American and Israeli is doing same thing with Iran to know its nuclear enrichment programs. I do not know what is end of this cyberwar but it is not good for all nations.

  9. There is no guarantee that deaths won’t result from interfering with computer operations at nuclear facilities. The results of such interference cannot be predicted as those interfering have no way of knowing the entire state of the system that they are interfering with.

    Trevor.

  10. I’d rather the US and Israel unleashed the computer virii rather than the nuclear bunker-busting bombs, personally. No one gets killed by computer viruses.

    If I had to choose between only those two options…

Comments are closed.