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back to article Snowden: US and Israel did create Stuxnet attack code

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has confirmed that the Stuxnet malware used to attack Iranian nuclear facilities was created as part of a joint operation between the Israelis and the NSA's Foreign Affairs Directorate (FAD). "The NSA and Israel cowrote it," he told Der Spiegel in an email interview conducted before he publicly …

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Unhappy

"most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

Not while THE PATRIOT act remains in force it won't.

Some of those provisions have "sunset" provisions but the present administration chose not to shut them down.

9/11/01 was thirteen years ago.

Isn't it time Americans stopped the "State of Fear" they seem to live in?

Americans, most of it inside your head.

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Meh

Stuxnet

Everyone knew it was Israel and the US, it was the worst best kept secret in the security services. Though now it has been made 'official' it must hurt.

I wonder how long it will be before Mr Snowden meets with an untimely death in a car crash/aircrash, bee sting, food poisoning, slipped on wet floor getting out of a shower, drowning in the bath, overdose, bumping his head on a window ledge or falling down stairs?

You have got to feel for the guy.

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Thumb Up

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

John Smith 19, thumbs up for your comment.

But the "State of Fear" is very real although self-perpetuating. For good reason the people have to fear the state and become more hostile towards the state. And the more hostile they get the more the state has to fear the people and implements measures to control the people...

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Coat

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

Don't you mean

11th September 2001

Using the proper date format.

Coat, I'm out of here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stuxnet

" it was the worst best kept secret in the security services. "

And in the world of security for industrial automation. E.g. Ralph Langner was where I first heard Stuxnet being attributed to the US and/or Israel (or, less likely, Germany and Russia), back in November 2010:

http://www.langner.com/en/2010/12/09/our-stuxnet-timeline/

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Windows

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

13 years ago.

Nobody even remembers how things were BEFORE.

Do YOU?

Really?

Yeah, things sucked with Clipper chips, then Janet Reno productions and bizarre unresolved mysteries (these were the days of the X-Files and John Doe #2 - not Nichols) and dead Iraqis that were "worth it" etc. etc. but it was nowhere near like today.

I think.

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Re: Stuxnet

so isnt that an act of war? if the roles were reversed, usa would be whining to the high sky and then invading and destroying everything. how infantile.

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WTF?

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

Odds of getting struck by lightning sometime in your lifetime? About 1:50,000

Odds of getting killed by a terrorist sometime in your lifetime? About 1:60,000

Hmmm....

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Big Brother

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

What! Getting struck by lightning is more likely than becoming victim of terro?

I propose the new program "A Destruction Of Lightning, Fast". To be implemented immediately.

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Meh

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

Actually for those Americans who are not too chicken to visit the rest of the world (I'm not sure Canada counts) according to the DoT the biggest killer is "traffic accidents."

It seems learning to drive on North American roads leaves people grossly unprepared for the rest of the world.

Who needs the Taliban, when you've got roundabouts.

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Re: Stuxnet

" wonder how long it will be before Mr Snowden meets with an untimely death"

Or is accused of various sexual offences to discredit him, as has been done to many whistleblowers.

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Stop

Re: Stuxnet

Katharine Gun ... seems to be both alive, well and not detained at HM's pleasure for some weird peccadillo.

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Black Helicopters

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

Uh-oh, Swindon now becomes a target for US drone strikes:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/images/2007/10/22/msn_magic_roundabout_470x350.jpg

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Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

For some reason this seems like a particularly apt quote in response to Evil Auditor @ 18:54 08/07/2013:

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0434409/quotes?qt=qt0450688

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Headmaster

Using the proper date format.

The proper date format would be 2001-09-11.

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Def
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Paris Hilton

Re: Roundabouts

I recently took a driving holiday up the pacific coast highway in California, and encountered a real roundabout (http://goo.gl/maps/pxev3). I was so shocked at the lack of burned out wrecks piled up in the middle, I almost crashed myself.

Paris, because she gets around and about.

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Go

Re: Roundabouts

I keep thinking of that scene in National Lampoon European Vacation where they are stuck on the roundabout in London, going round in circles.

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Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

Hey John,

Really?? Just curious to know which parts of the world you've visited? As an American, I've lived on "The" Continent for 15 years now, and have driven in lots of places that don't know how to maintain a road (Belgium), or traffic for that matter (Paris during Friday evening rush) and survived it all. I have to chalk it up to learning to drive in Chicago, if you can drive there, anywhere else is a Sunday drive in the park.

And just to be honest about it, most people don't leave the US because it is so flippin huge. It takes about 8 hours just to drive from the top of Illinois to the bottom, and there are much bigger states than Illinois. There is enough to see for most people.

Just sayin'....

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Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

<looks out of window>

not a cloud in sight

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED :-D

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Coat

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

Steve - Don't you mean the proper ISO-8601 format of: 2001-09-11 ? (American and Euro date formats are equally crap for date sorting)

Double coat, and outta here. :)

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Re: Stuxnet

Or is accused of various sexual offences to discredit him, as has been done to many whistleblowers.

Forcing people to blow his whistle is just what got a certain someone else in trouble in the first place...

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Proper date formats

2001-09-11 is the correct format.

ISO 8601 d00d!

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Holmes

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

"9/11/01 was thirteen years ago."

My good sir, if you subtract 2001 from 2013 I believe you'll find that the answer is 12.

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Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

Your numbers seem a bit off.... Lightning strike death odds in US, about 500,000 to 700,000 to 1. Odds of terrorism death in US, about 20,000,000 to 1.

Cost to US of POSSIBLY saving all lives if all plots intercepted had succeeded, about $200,000,000 per life saved.

http://reason.com/archives/2011/09/06/how-scared-of-terrorism-should.

Cost of freedoms lost? Priceless....

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Re: Using the proper date format.

"The proper date format would be 2001-09-11."

What's all this crap about "proper". The only numerical date format is the ISO one. Any other arrangement of digits is just a typing error. In particular, anyone who has used a date format with two digit years in the last decade needs to be beaten about the head with a blunt instrument until two more digits drop out.

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Joke

Re: "most trusted services in the world if they actually desire to do so."

>> "Who needs the Taliban, when you've got roundabouts."

You mean Milton Keynes is a hub of world terror? It now all makes sense!

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Anonymous Coward

As usual in the last couple of decades

The Germany and the UK betraying the rest of Europe and thinking only of short-term gains. They used to be on opposite sides some time ago, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As usual in the last couple of decades

Well UK vs Germany was a largely 20th century phenomenon. Normal service resumed :-)

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Pint

Re: As usual in the last couple of decades

> They used to be on opposite sides some time ago, though.

And unfortunate accident that could have been resolved by less rah-rahism on both sides.

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds like the stuff of dodgy geezers.

"Other countries don't ask where the NSA's data comes from, and the US returns that favor, to give politicians plausible deniability in the event of source disclosure, he explained."

In other words: "ask no questions, tell no lies." Also known as wilful blindness.

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"US-based multinationals should not be trusted"

We never considered US-based companies as secure, no matter whether they comply with the safe harbour rules. And even with data transfer within Europe we've been aware since decades that it is inherently unsafe since in most countries it is legal for the state to wiretapanalyse at least inbound cross-boarder communication.

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Yeah, right.

"According to National Security Council staffer Thomas Reed, the CIA got wind that the Soviets were trying to steal industrial-control software for a new gas pipeline from a Canadian supplier. He claims the CIA installed a trojan into the Canadian firm's software and allowed it to be purloined by the KGB.

"The pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds," he said. "The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space.""

Oh come on now! You steal some control software from a Canadian company and plonk it on your own pipeline - just like that - and it misbehaves. Well whadya know! If you did that it'd be 99.9% likely to blow up with or without the Trojan.

It'd need configuring (at the very least) for your own use and if you didn't test it pretty damn thoroughly you could expect disaster for sure. If you steal some software there are no guarantees. It might not even be finished.

I'm afraid that story is just not plausible unless you don't have a clue about writing and testing software, like I suspect Thomas Reed doesn't.

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Re: Yeah, right.

Well, firstly, the Russians had probably already stolen the hardware plans and were intending on cloning the whole system, so the software would have been effectively just another component they had to have to make it work. Secondly, the US almost certainly had already stolen the whole lot, as is their wont.

The US's logic is: "we are always right, therefore we can do no wrong, therefore we can do what we like". Couple that with "if you're not for us, you're against us" and it's pretty obvious how we ended up in the mess we're in.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah, right.

"I'm afraid that story is just not plausible unless you don't have a clue about writing and testing software, like I suspect Thomas Reed doesn't."

I am inclined to agree. This part of the story is distinctly whiffy.

The Soviets were churning out a huge number of skilled graduate programmers at the time. Such malware would have been nipped in the bud before it even got close to any purloined hardware, let alone a production system.

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Re: Yeah, right.

Well, they might have skilled programmers, but they are dealing with technology a bit more advanced than what they have (otherwise they won't have to steal) and also the programmers are not mechanical specialists. It probably won't be impossible to insert a subtle error in the coefficients that will lead to a slow wearing out over time, leading to eventual destruction. They also don't have a lot of time because they want the complex working ASAP, not in debugging.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah, right.

I'm on the side of it being plausible. It might not be a single piece of software, it might be a number of easily configurable modules which allow you to tweak it to any given set up. As I suspect much software is these days. Give them the framework and the back end, all they do is the tweaking and it's done.

Considering back then there wasn't any automated memory management, and the size of the codebase (I'm assuming it was pretty large here) all it would take is a deliberately poorly set memory location, or a memory overflow, or resetting one value 'accidently' and you have a world of problems. And having tried to debug some memory issues on the newer compilers they aren't all that eay to track down, especially if you have a few million lines of code to sort through.

And I doubt it would be a stupid system either. more than likely it was designed to run for 'so long' to get past testing, and then blow up further down the line. I honestly doubt, even with all the programmers of russia at their disposal, that they went through each and every line of code. They probably configured it, tested it, and implemented it only for i to blow up a year or so later when it could be plausibly explained as a 'hardware fault'

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Bronze badge

this is really a wonderful man

He may be fresh-faced, but he seems to know a lot about a great many issues that are of great concern to us, having been spun out by the media in recent years. Over the next few months he will doubtless be reinforcing our fears over several high-profile issues. His revelations will fill countless front pages, while the US struggles impotently to silence him. If he were British we would call him a national treasure.

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Unhappy

Re: this is really a wonderful man

" If he were British we would call him a national treasure."

I doubt it. Look what happened to the last heroic British whistleblower, Dr David Kelly.

Suicide, they insist. A claim that looks less and less plausible the more and more that leaks into the public domain. And the vindictive pursuit of Andrew Gilligan fits the pattern.

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Re: @ Ledswinger

So what you are saying is either:

1. That the British authorities are more vindictive and efficient at killing off people like Snowden

2. Or that the Americans are less competent at doing so than the British.

The question is, do they want to harm him? Or do they need to harm him? Is this a real heroic whistleblower or a media plant?

I cannot answer these questions.

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Re: this is really a wonderful man

You mean like Kim Philby, yea now that a hero you can be proud of !

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Re: this is really a wonderful man

you mean like Kim Philby?

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Black Helicopters

Re: this is really a wonderful man

> Suicide, they insist.

Just a case of Blair poisoning. It happens to the best of them.

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re:" he seems to know a lot about a great many issues"

I am generally sympathetic to Snowden's cause, but there is a possibility he is over egging the pudding.

For the most part he has a highly receptive audience, none of whom are playing Devil's Advocate. None of us really know if he has real knowledge on Stuxnet or whether he's embellishing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: this is really a wonderful man

The article in this weekend's Guardian suggests a very different story - that Kelly was a committed germ warfare researcher who knew where the Iraqis kept their germ warfare equipment because he had been involved when the UK Government supplied it to Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war, when we were covertly supporting Iraq. And that far from briefing Gilligan off the record, it was on the instructions of SIS, an attempt by SIS to make it look as if they had told the Government there were no WMD when in fact they had, at an earlier stage, and now realised they would not be discovered and SID would be blamed. When the stuff hit the fan, Kelly as a relatively junior person (i.e. a scientist) was sacrificed to protect his bosses. So, given what might come out about his role and the way he felt betrayed, suicide made sense.

Given the sort of people involved in this kind of business, it makes more sense than the heroic scientist feeling obliged to tell the truth to a journalist narrative, though of course I have no way of knowing if there is any truth in it.

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the last heroic British whistleblower, Dr David Kelly

Would that be the Dr. David Kelly who supported the Iraq War, who, indeed, wrote part of the justification dossier for the war?

or would that be the fictional David Kelly, that Gilligan invented?

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Re: he seems to know a lot about a great many issues

Yeah, and that's when you should start doing a serious reality check.

By his own admission he was only at the NSA for 30 days. Do you seriously think anyone could get these kinds of details on such a wide variety of data in only 30 days?

Intelligence data is compartmentalized. My roomie has a clearance and works as a civilian for the military. Not the really secret black ops stuff, just the stuff you wouldn't want the enemy to know about how you make equipment. Pain points for him are bad enough. Very rarely he deals with highly classified systems. If you get high enough into them, you get a phone number you can call. If some one answers "Hello" and gives the correct countersign you ask your question. You don't ask who answered. You don't wait for a response to your question. You just ask. More likely you'll get a recording device and you leave a message. Maybe they'll get back to you before the deadline for whatever you are working on expires. Do you really think the hard core black ops stuff we expect the NSA to perform in defense of our country is LESS compartmentalized than the process for building armarments?

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@ribosome

I've heard a similar tale in a different context. His claim was the reason the allies didn't "find" chemical weapons in Iraq is that the weapons Sadam was using were sent by the US military. So they couldn't publicly recover the crates as they'd have US serial codes.

These are the kinds of conspiracy theories you need to walk away from. Too many ghosts, shadows, and false fronts for somebody unconnected to sort out with logic alone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ribosome

Unfortunately, I know enough about what was going on in the Iran/Iraq war to know that the UK was indeed covertly supplying Saddam with stuff. The Guardian article in question is definitely not a conspiracy theory piece; perhaps you should read it before dismissing it.

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Re: @ribosome

Links, then!

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