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back to article Iran accused of hacking nuke inspectors' phones, PCs

United Nations nuclear officials are investigating reports that Iranian spies may have hacked agency phones and laptops that were left unattended during a recent inspection of that country's uranium enrichment facilities, the Associated Press reported. The news agency cited three unnamed diplomats who said the inspectors from …

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Regardless of whether they've been hit or not...

Perhaps these guys should be RDPing into a secure server and having the laptops given the nuke-and-reinstall treatment on every return trip? Shouldn't be too hard if a magic disk can be fettled somehow. Insert disk, boot off disk, come back 10 minutes later to a clean OS install.

That or use some kind of ChromeOS-style cloudbook with the OS booted from a read-only device of some sorts (custom LiveCD? Print with a hologram for authenticity checking?). When you're working with something that sensitive, surely the less that can be gotten from access to the clients the better?

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Anonymous Coward

security needs to take in to account the attacker

none of what you have suggested would prevent them swapping out the ROM containing your read only ultra-secure terminal with a replacement that does a MITM on their ultra-secure RDP session, or just sticking a transmitter on the video output

the solutions you suggested only work against an attacker who doesn't have physical access, there is nothing you can do about one that does (and your RDP suggestion just added an extra security weakness allowing remote access to your sensitive data)

Sticking it in a tamper-proof envelope is about as secure as you can get, but obviously even that's not 100% against an attacker with the resources of a country behind them. Perhaps they need to supply the team with 2 assistants (because 1 can be bought off) to watch over the tamper-proof envelopes? also I wonder if they were sealing the devices up when they went to sleep, that could well have been how they managed to get past it...

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Reaction

If these allegations are substantiated, it should result in a withdrawal of Iran's authority to possess fissionable materials and operate nuclear power plants.

They interfere with nuclear inspections - it should have consequences, in the same way that you or I can't fail to fill out our tax returns.

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good luck with that.

> withdrawal of Iran's authority to possess fissionable materials

I'm not sure Armadinijad will care very much.

> it should have consequences

Like the present method of trade embargo? Oh yes, they have oil, don't they?

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Merkin, I presume

At least I hope a European would have a more worldly view. Iran is their country, they can do whatever the fuck they want in there. They don't need a permission slip from Uncle Sam to run and operate nuclear plants.

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FAIL

Power

They are generating power - nothing more. Yes, there are claims there is a nuclear weapons programme but there is no evidence (remember WMD claims ?).

Tampering with equipment results in consequences ? What about India / Pakistan who signed and broke the NPT. What about Israel who didn't even bother with the NPT and have numerous missles and locked up a Christian researcher who confirmed the program ?

It's such a shame Iran is ruled by such a twerp.

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Anonymous Coward

@John Savard

Whereas I agree that there should be robust dealings with countries that interfere materially with nuclear inspections (which they actively signed up to be subject to) I think a more important direction at the moment would be to ensure that no country is permitted to exempt themselves from inspections in the first place.

Don't you agree?

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Stop

Re: Power

Nitpick: India and Pakistan never signed the NPT, either. You may be thinking of North Korea, who withdrew from the treaty, arguably long after actually breaking it.

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Heart

psst, Tom

The UN includes member countries outside the US and Europe.

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Permission

"They don't need a permission slip from Uncle Sam to run and operate nuclear plants."

True - but Iran has signed up to the NPT and therefore, has to abide by the terms of the treaty (like UN inspections) or suffer sanctions. India, Israel and Pakistan never signed up to the NPT and North Korea withdrew from it. No doubt Iran would do the same if they thought they could make viable nuclear weapons without Russian help/technology.

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Anonymous Coward

Ooops

Should have checked my facts before posting. From the ever reliable Wikipedia:

"In early March 2006, India and the United States finalized an agreement, in the face of criticism in both countries, to provide India with US civilian nuclear technology. Under the deal India has committed to classify 14 of its 22 nuclear power plants as being for civilian use and to place them under IAEA safeguards. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the IAEA, welcomed the deal by calling India "an important partner in the non-proliferation regime."[31]".

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Alien

You're assuming

That it was the Iranians that were attempting tamper with the devices.

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Always assume

You should always assume the blackhats are reading yer stuff. Then you can manipulate them, rather than the other way round.

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WTF?

Why not have a David Davis unemployable accompany the inspectors ...

and stay in the hotel room guarding the electronic goodies?

You can also buy sealed satphones that cannot be physically accessed apart from charging them and the antennae.

Of course, a tube of glue also provides the potentiality of detecting tampering - a cracked case is a dead giveaway.

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Ramp up the volume ...... another bogeyman is needed.

"Inspectors aren't permitted to take their devices with them during inspections, so they typically leave them in hotel rooms. Strict security measures require unattended cellphones and computers to be placed in seamless paper envelopes that are sealed and have writing across the seal and envelope to flag any unauthorized opening.

The diplomats said the Iranians had found ways to bypass the security measures but didn't provide further details."

Oh please, Dan Goodin in San Francisco, surely they cannot be serious and expect us to believe that monstrously unbelievable tale. What sort of a mindless idiot doing what is supposed to be very contentious snooping would leave their cellphones and computers typically in hotel rooms. And how convenient is "The diplomats said the Iranians had found ways to bypass the security measures but didn't provide further details."

Who is the plonker responsible for dreaming up that sort of pathetic nonsense? He'll have to up his game more than a notch or three to remain in anyway a credible source for media pimping of future smart agendas or present stupid policies. What sort of a sick world does he imagine people like him inhabit/create?

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Black Helicopters

... How convenient.

So,

First the US announces that they will physically attack anyone who "cyber" attacks them.

Then we have reports that Iran is a big bad hacker.

Who the frack writes this stuff ... ?

... and more importantly ...

Who reads this tripe and actually believes it ?

The US has been shown to be lacking in providing proof on everything from 911 to Osama´s supposed death.

The UN has been shown to be a puppet entity since its lost its balls when the US decided to invade whatever country it liked in flagrant violation of international law.

Are we really all going to just sit about whilst they try and sell another pre-abricated war to us ?

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@Reasoner

Yes I agree with you.

I became a convert to 911 conspiracy after viewing www.ae911truth.org

The salient facts are:

1) Before 911 no steel framed building had ever collapsed due to a fire.

2) The towers fell through the path of maximum resistance (straight down) at the same speed as a free falling object. This is impossible unless the tower was demolished from beneath.

3) A collapsing building will topple to one side as it finds the path of least resistance.

Result: Pearl Harbour vers. 2 > Profit

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Stop

RE: @Reasoner

Please, you're just embarassing yourself, just go read http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/1227842.

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WTF?

Dear Matt ...

In case it wasn´t clear - I´m not actually selling anything.

I have an opinion which is based on previous experience and what I know of the human condition.

This of course does not make my opinion correct.

Everybody needs to find their own truth.

What is clear and undeniable is that the people of the world have been lied to by successive administrations the world over on a plethora of issues.

The problem is that there is never any possible rectification of the actions of underhanded people after the event has occurred. (God alone knows how deep does the rabbit hole actually goes).

Anything that encourages debate with a view to finding a system that is better than the one we currently have can only be a positive thing.

So hows about we all do a little less insulting and a little more thinking for ourselves.

Because I promise you that if you don´t ... someone else will surely take that choice from you.

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@ Mystic Myth No. 2

"2) The towers fell ... at the same speed as a free falling object. This is impossible unless the tower was demolished from beneath."

Maybe one of the upper floors fell like a pancake. The increased air pressure from this, acting like a piston, would then disconnect the floor below from the walls. And so on all the way down.

Normal atmospheric air pressure ca. 14.7 lb/square inch. Design floor loading for office buildings ca. 250 kg/square metre. The sums are not difficult.

There is confirmation from the videos. Puffs of dust can be seen blowing outwards from the building at various stages. Rather than being caused by explosives, as the myth has it, these are simply dust blown out by the pancake piston.

The only thing more surprising than the public's propensity for make-believe is the capacity of the press and activists to dream it up and promote it.

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FAIL

RE: Dear Matt ...

Dear Deluded,

"In case it wasn´t clear - I´m not actually selling anything...." Yeah, I can't see a career in sales in your future if that's the best pitch you can come up with.

"....I have an opinion which is based on previous experience and what I know of the human condition...." So it's based on paranoia and preconceptions, and completely ignores scientific facts. Me, I prefer the whole scientific facts thing to the wild and unsubstantiated ranting trip.

".....This of course does not make my opinion correct...." You are perfectly entitled to your own opinion, I'd even defend your right to think whatever you like as long as you don't inflict it on others, but if you chose to make it public in a forum visited by people that can think, don't be surprised when you get laughed at.

"What is clear and undeniable is that the people of the world have been lied to by successive administrations the world over on a plethora of issues....." Which roughly translates to "I don't like the gubbermint, so I'm going to think the worst even when facts show otherwise"? Please, it's getting to the point where all you're doing is making a great argument for the need for eugenics!

".....Anything that encourages debate with a view to finding a system that is better than the one we currently have can only be a positive thing......" OK, let's hear how you think spreading widely debunked 9/11 conspiracy theories is going to help in "finding a system" for better government? All it seems to be good for is spotting the potential Darwin Awards candidiates - "Dude, do you believe that 9/11 was a setup?" "Why, yes, I do!" "Hey, bro, wanna do some planking out on the balcony?"

"......Because I promise you that if you don´t ... someone else will surely take that choice from you." I, in turn, can assure you there are no black helicopters heading your way, but probably plenty of interest from people in white coats.

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Happy

I Agree ...

I too defend your right to your opinions and freedom of choice when taking action on those opinions.

If you feel that the best thing for you and your loved ones is to sanction another war then more power to you my friend for knowing what you want out of life.

Thank the lolcats this world has room for all of us.

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Troll

Blimey...

... I can actually agree with Matt Bryant on something!

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Stop

RE: I Agree ...

"....If you feel that the best thing for you and your loved ones is to sanction another war..." Leaping to conclusions a bit, aren't we? No-one has mentioned going to war because the Iranians tried to hack some UN laptops. You really need to loosen up the tinfoil hat - a lot!

All the nations in the World perform some sort of "spying" on their own people and others. In some cases I'm sure it's nothing more sophisticated than listening to gossip, in others it's multi-billion dollar budgets. And many nations also use opportunities presented by the UN to spy on each other - the US and EU on Iran, for example, and Iran on them in return. I bet, despite the UN's best efforts and screening, there are more than a few professional spies on their payroll, gathering intel whilst on UN missions. To pretend otherwise is naive. In these games, the "crime" is getting caught. As the UN does not make allegations on a whim, in fact they strive hard to be overly unaccusative, it looks like, in this instance, the Iranians got caught.

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Planting malware?

Now let's see, which country quite openly takes away electronic equipment from people entering that country, "for inspection"? (And almost certainly planted malware on Iran.)

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Not convincing enough...

Just read that Popular Mechanics article, and sure, I believe the towers were hit by two airliners, there was always enough footage to see that. And sure, maybe they did collapse at free-fall speed due to their internal floor design and the pancake cascading effect. I buy that...

...but what I don't buy, is that building 7, which only took damage to one side of it, would also come down so perfectly vertical. Surely it would have toppled over on the weakest side..?! But if you watch a video of it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73qK4j32iuo), it clearly comes down EXACTLY like a controlled demolition. If you want to believe some bullshit 'official' explanation, then fine. I will believe my own eyes, and draw my own conclusion.

Additionally, the Pentagon. I don't know what hit it, because there doesn't seem to be any footage of it. Now with the Pentagon being the headquarters for the entire United States military machine, you'd think there would be enough of CCTV footage, constantly monitoring all angles, all around the building. And all they could produce was five measely still frames of an explosion, which pretty much showed nothing else..?!?! WTF..?!! Too fishy by far...

(There's also some 'conspiracy theory' style addition to the Pentagon story: Apparently, the previous day, Donald Rumsfeld announced that they couldn't account for roughly 1.3 *Trillion* dollars, and supposedly the computers that held the evidence of mis-appropriation of funds just happened to be in the part of the Pentagon that was hit... Not sure about this though, like I said, very conspiracy theory, lol... :-p

But anyway, that's my two-cents worth... Open your minds people...

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FAIL

Try explaining ...

... to the surviving family members of the lost souls aboard American Airlines Flight 77 your doubt about what actually caused the explosion at the Pentagon. There are a large number of eye-witness acounts along with photographic evidence (that I found readily available on the web) that clearly indicate a commercial airliner was the source. Not to mention the cell phone calls originating from passengers aboard the doomed plane.

The lack of capacity for critical thinking is appalling.

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heh

$1.3t being about 10% of the GDP for the US...yeh sure mate, that went missing.

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FAIL

Now, now- no-one said it went missing in one year.

Let's do the maths assuming its been going on for a longer period, shall we?

Let's assume that this massive conspiracy started in 1947, because... hey, Roswell's been blamed for every other conspiracy so why not 9/11 as well?

That would mean that, on average, this secret society misappropriated about $60Bn a year. (NASA gets an average of $9ishBn and gets bitched at for it.- and the Black Ops budget was only about $50Bn last year...)

Now a powerful group of people in charge of a few multinationals working together? I can buy that as a conspiracy. You don't get to the top by being nice. Corrupt senators- even corrupt Presidents? Yeah, I can buy that too- they're only human. Aliens? That's another issue entirely unless ET is flying a 767 nowadays.

Even that someone like the US military could be bribed/conned out of that amount of money- so it'd be recorded as flowing to (say) BAE, Lockheed or Boeing but with nothing to show for it- would be believable. You'd want heads to roll, but it'd just go down as "oh, the public sector/military procurement/etc fucked up again. What a surprise."

But $2.3Tn going MISSING (which, I imagine, is what "unaccounted for") means? As in someone siphoned off enough money to cover the national debt of the UK? Not a chance. Even the $60Bn average over 50-ish years wouldn't exactly go unnoticed.

Anyway- short of building a secret fleet of AT-ATs and a Death Star (in orbit around Jupiter), what would they use $2.3Tn for?! The War on Terror has only cost about half of that and that's been an intensive bunch of wars for almost 10 years. For $2.3Tn they could have dropped that much ordnance on Afghanistan/Iraq/Pakistan that Bin Laden could have been declared 'missing, presumed utterly pulverised'.

Of course, I could be a government pawn writing this from the wonderful solid-gold office block the Government secretly launched into orbit with a small fraction of that $2.3Tn.

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@Richard Jukes

Sorry, my mistake, it was $2.3T...

See here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU4GdHLUHwU

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Silver badge

Bah!

And double bah!

the problem with the WTC conspiracy theories isn't that everyone is finding their own truth (whatever that tripe means) but that everyone is finding their own physics.

That people who use technology lack the wherewithal to find out how it works beggars the imagination.

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WTF?

@Mystic

1) Before 911 no steel framed building had ever collapsed due to a fire.

Before 911 no office building fire was fueled by Jet A jet fuel with a burning temp in open air of 550 °F. Double that temp in an enclosed space. (The Empire State Building had a B-25 bomber impact into it on July 28, 1945 which caused a fire from its engine heat, not the fuel which did not ignite. That fire was put out in 40 minutes.)

2) The towers fell through the path of maximum resistance (straight down) at the same speed as a free falling object. This is impossible unless the tower was demolished from beneath.

The above mentioned high temperatures warped the floor supports on several floors (93 - 99 with 10 floors of weight above them) and with no anti-fire foam protection this happened quite quickly. The supports collapsed several interior floors onto each other which collapsed the lower floors in sequence one after the other. Yes, it headed straight down save for the 600' circle of support debris around the tower as it fell haphazardly with pieces coming off the sides as it sheared downwards. :P

3) A collapsing building will topple to one side as it finds the path of least resistance.

A building collapses to one side when one side of that building is weakened. All four sides of the towers were affected by heat because the interior floor supports failed and when they could no longer support the weight above it buckled outwards and the interior floors fell. An unsupported building is at the mercy of gravity which is in this case is yes, straight down.

I don't blame you though. A half baked rumour is always believed faster than a solid fact. That's just human nature.

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