back to article US officials confirm Stuxnet was a joint US-Israeli op

Cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear program were a US-Israel effort started under the Bush administration and continued by President Obama, The New York Times reports. The confirmation from Obama-administration officials that Stuxnet was a joint US-operation comes from extracts from a forthcoming book, Confront and Conceal: Obama' …

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  1. Frosty840

    Typo

    Second paragraph, first line typo of "Stuxnet" as "student", I believe.

    1. Hieronymus Howerd
      FAIL

      Re: Typo

      See the "Send corrections" link, it's right there at the bottom of the article.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. nigel 15

      Re: Typo

      looks like an auto correct to me.

  2. Vin King
    Trollface

    This is an amazing story that just goes to show Obamer's commitment to an open and transparent government that he pledged to enforce. This is Change you can believe in! Yes we can!

    1. Thomas 18
      Thumb Up

      he hee

      Your sarcasm is palpable.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Confirmation

    So we now have confirmation that the criminal in charge is a terrorist of the same level as the previous one. I wonder how scorchio and gumby will defend his actions now... Probably by going on a rant on Iran's evil and on how the ends justify the means.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Confirmation

      "Now"?

      The first thing he did was give the Bush gang get out jail free cards and his day one promise of closing Guantanamo turned out empty.

      He has extended the so called war on terror into additional countries and greatly expanded slaughter by drones.

      By some measures Obama has been a warmonger worse than Dubya & Co but he's the one with the Nobel Peace Prize on his mantelpiece.

    2. Graham Wilson

      Re: Confirmation

      Funny how the supposed "Righteous" only believe in the rule of law when it suits them.

      ...And I can't recall the bully boys declaring war either.

    3. Throatwobbler Mangrove
      FAIL

      Re: Confirmation

      Rubbish.

      While I agree with a my fellow commentosser above that it's laughable that Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, the Stuxnet operation simply wasn't terrorism. It wasn't intended to cause fear, panic etc (because it was covert and designed not to be discovered) and it wasn't against civilian targets (a nuclear weapons programme is not a civilian target). You can't just label whatever you disagree with "terrorism".

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Confirmation

        "You can't just label whatever you disagree with "terrorism"."

        err... technically you can, you just need to change yuor name to US DHS first

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Confirmation

      "So now we have confirmation..."

      You might have. I don't. These guys are paid to lie. Presumably they aren't *so* bad at their job that they are unable to do so. Whilst I am loathe to give succour to internet conspiracy theorists, I have to concede that having unnamed US officials "confirm" that their government is conducting an undeclared war against Iran in an election year doesn't quite meet my own personal standards of evidence.

      1. Tom 13

        @Ken Hagan: Yes we do.

        But only because its such an obvious Big 0 missfire. The Idiot in Chief can't stop himself from spiking the football whenever he thinks he needs a war boost to win the "easily led" squishes. Whether it was "leaking" details on the actual killing of Osama or this it follows a familiar pattern: he beats his chest and some other poor sod doing the dangerous work get killed or jailed for it. Meanwhile Joe "Plagiarist" Biden goes on national TV and worries about the damage it might have cause The Big 0.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Sociopath in power admits to lesser wrongdoings, while continuing malfeasance.

    Pope catholic, Holocaust actually happened etc.

  5. dwieske

    unlike anons actions, this is cyberterrorism

    and should NOT be tolerated.........the current prez the us has, "black bush" as we lovingly call him will turn out to be an even greater threat to humanity then bush......Wolf in sheepsclothes.... I'm getting scared

    1. TheRealRoland
      Stop

      Re: unlike anons actions, this is cyberterrorism

      Who is 'we'? Stop making these generalisations, please. I'm not part of your 'we'.

  6. Chad H.

    If Iran had done this to the USA

    IRan would be that "Glowy-but" next to Iraq.

    1. TheRealRoland
      Thumb Down

      Re: If Iran had done this to the USA

      Glowy but what?

    2. Tom 13

      Re: If Iran had done this to the USA

      If the US were going to "glowie" Iran, it would have been done way back in the beginning of the 1980s and we wouldn't have the mess in the Middle East that we do now.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    OK...

    So who's going to issue the first Extradition Warrant on "you know who" for Computer Hacking/Misuse?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK...

      In the light of the latest information in the press and after deep and careful consideration, we have decided not to pursue the case of extradition due to fact that the person on the other end of the phone line apparently chocked to death. Laughing. Then, the second person who picked up the phone pissed his pants also suffering from what appeared to be a heart attack, while the third person just put the phone down. This indicates an extremely low (aka blue moon) chance of success in finding and bringing the perpetrator to justice, despite the grave nature of the crime which HMG would in all other circumstances, pursue relentlessly*.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Chocked to death"

        At least he wouldn't roll away afterwards!

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: OK...

      Voldemort's a hacker? Who knew!

      Seriously- can anyone sue for damages? These ones are real, not like McKinnons 'repair' bill...

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Graham Wilson
    Unhappy

    Errr... Reckon it had to be something like this.

    I can't see how this helps unless there's all out war (where intelligence is acted on ASAP). It just ups the ante, invites retaliation and ensures all future systems are offline with network cables cut.

    Wonder how long before the spied upon develop effective revenge strategies. Reckon it's not if but when.

    Oh, and I nearly forgot: the spied-upon now have just the excuse they want to ignore any restraint.

    1. HamsterNet
      FAIL

      Re: Errr... Reckon it had to be something like this.

      Off line you mean like the control boxes that this virus targeted! It got to the target because sooner or later you have to plug in another computer to program the controller...

      Please look up how it works...

  10. Furbian
    Unhappy

    ... and we'll all pay for this madness...

    ... as the virus is reversed engineered and sent out by criminals who are so keen to get hold of our credit card, bank account details etc.

    Now we know who to blame it would seem. Politicians obsessed with short term goals who can't see beyond the end of their noses, are they to thick to realise that these virus will come back to haunt us all? I suspect they don't actually care.

    If the Iranians have learnt from their previous experiences and battened down their hatches, then that will leave further efforts from the US and Israel hitting their 'wall' and bouncing off, much like the ricochet bullet, but worse as all an sundry with malign intentions get hold of it and use it further their, umm, 'interests'.

  11. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Kinda opens the door

    Given that this was an offensive, pre-emptive operation by one or two states against another "enemy" state, it will be intersting to see if the USA and Israel (if they really were in cahoots to make the attack) can retain any moral authority in the internet-as-a-battlefield stakes. It does seem that none of the perpetrators will be able to go bleating to anyone if some other state (or maybe even non-state) decides to go after them: either in retaliation or just for LOLs - after all, they started it.

    It also make you wonder if this undermines the americans' ability to prosecute cyber-attackers, since they are not above using the same tactics, themselves.

    Since cyber attacks are a very good match to asymmetrical warfare, by pulling the cork out of the proverbial these guys may well find that any baddies with a botnet or two could wreak much more damage on them than they managed to incur on their (first?) target.

    I just wonder how many moves ahead their strategists were thinking when they decided to start down this particular road?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Kinda opens the door ..... by virtual of universal reciprocality

      "It also make you wonder if this undermines the americans' ability to prosecute cyber-attackers, since they are not above using the same tactics, themselves." ..... Pete 2 Posted Friday 1st June 2012 16:42 GMT

      Oy vey ...... of course it does, Pete 2. To suggest otherwise would be to identify oneself as a hypocrite of the highest order? And it kinda blows all firewalls down and any doors right off their hinges and to smithereens in the process.

      Nice one, Uncle Sam. Way to go in the race to the bottom of the barrel with failed intelligence.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Kinda opens the door

      "moral authority"

      I think that ship sailed regarding this particular axis of evil half a dozen decades ago.

      probably the first case of someone using code to publicly shoot themselves in the foot (excluding everything that ever happened at Redmond of course)

      I'll bet Mcinnons legal types are pissing themselves.

      oh and PS

      to everyone who insisted the US would not be so stupid

      I Told You So!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fukushima

    So now we know who to blame, right? Just before the big quake there were news items about Stuxnet having been spotted in Fukushima's systems, which were running the same Siemen's controllers stuxnet exploits. Perhaps the catastrophic failure of the cooling system at Fukushima had a little "help" beyond the quake.

    1. TheRealRoland
      WTF?

      Re: Fukushima

      Or even better, the quake was somehow organized by the United States? I can see where you're going...

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Fukushima

      Anyone using Windows for any life-crucial tasks should be taken out and shot.

      It says so in the EULA...

      1. Jeebus

        Re: Fukushima

        Anyone using Linux is better off dead, and their families too. Assuming they're married, which none of them are.

        1. eulampios

          Re: Fukushima

          >>Anyone using Linux is better off dead, and their families too.

          So, dearest Jeebus, which way you yourself would like to die? Cause, you're using Linux this very moment while reading it:

          http://forums.theregister.co.uk/

          Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Debian) mod_apreq2-20090110/2.8.0 mod_perl/2.0.4 Perl/v5.10.1

          1. Jeebus

            Re: Fukushima

            I always assumed I'd go by setting fire to myself.

        2. hplasm Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Fukushima

          Weak.

    3. Orv Silver badge

      IMAP + multiple machines = headache

      Unlikely. Industrial control systems are highly implementation-specific, even if they're running the same hardware.

  13. John Savard Silver badge

    Two Possibilities

    The first one is that the author made this up, and the U.S. Administration is not officially confirming something as obviously sensitive as this, were it true.

    The second one is to build credibility for a denial of having had anything to do with Flame.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Id have to read the book but considering the "officials" are unnamed my money's on it being bullshit.

    NSA would have had to do it, considering they're the only ones with enough expertise to do something like Stuxnet, and they dont talk about operations even to each other. They sure as hell aren't going to tell some author, and even then if they did, that agency is so heavily compartmented that noone really knows whats going on intentionally. My money's on it still being an Israeli project because of all the Political clues in the program itsself that only Israelis would have cared about, like the date in 1979 when they executed an Iranian Jew, so on and so forth.

    And the comment on the election made me laugh, because obviously Mr. Hypponen doesn't get how it works in the US. The Romney camp would/will still accuse the Obama administration of being soft on Iran. And people would believe him because [sarcasm] democrats are ALWAYS soft on defense you know [/sarcasm], nevermind two democrats started the war in Vietnam, a democrat led the US during WWII, etc etc.

    The only way that attacking Iran would help Obama would be if he started bombing the place tomorrow, but even then the Republicans would attack him for it like they did over Libya.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "My money's on it still being an Israeli project because of all the Political clues in the program itsself that only Israelis would have cared about, like the date in 1979 when they executed an Iranian Jew, so on and so forth."

      Complete toss. Give me any date in the last century and I'll find some amazingly meaningful anniversary for it - or, indeed, any six figure string that could be interpreted as a date in the last century. It's Da Vinci code nonsense to suggest that they'd go to great lengths to maintain the secrecy and plausible deniability of the virus and then plant all sorts of stupid clues in the code.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: democrats are ALWAYS soft on defense

      Not always soft. Some are just plain incompetent, which is actually worse than being soft. That would include the current office holder and be a key reason I'm willing to believe this story from a leftist rag.

  15. John A Blackley

    Such morals!

    No idea if this story's true or not. As it's based on anonymous quotes, I tend to doubt it.

    As to the moral outrage shown above, I'm glad none of you are in charge of the country. While you sit around glorifying yourselves for your morality, the rest of us would be smoke and ashes.

  16. Ramazan

    elections

    Does the Stuxnet really make Obama look like a demigod? In comparison to Bush The Junior he's just a mortal. Bush said he would dig Saddam out of his hole and he made it. Good luck to Obama trying to hang Ahmadinejad as well as Bush did with Hussein.

    1. Gerhard den Hollander

      Re: elections

      Bush got Sadam, Obama got Osama

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: elections

      I believe the plan is to hang Assad. Google "Assad" and "noose". There's only one thing that you do with a noose.

      1. TheRealRoland

        Re: elections

        Personally, it's getting kinda sickening, all the polarized comments thrown out here.

        The braying about how the US is the best, how 'we' got Saddam, Usama, etc.

        How 'we' carry a big stick, how 'we' can make counties become 'glowy-but' places.

        And then calling others names who don't disagree with 'we/us'.

        Stop it.

        This crap does not make the world a better place. It only works towards alienating others from you.

        On that note: you're doing a great job so far.

  17. Dan Paul
    Big Brother

    Pope:Catholic.. and Armchair Generals second guess the President - do you want to play a game?

    Hypothetically speaking....Israeli Military says, Let's play First Strike Global Nuclear War! US Commander in Chief says, No, I'd rather take the lesser of two evils. Mossad/NSA/CIA says, Let's use a virus to cause a centrifuge explosion and render their undergound uranium processing facility uninhabitable for a few centuries. We can't bomb it because it's too deep for our bunker busters. Obama says thats a great idea and voila, we have Stuxnet, Flame, whatever (and a whole new "Cyber Warfare Command" to keep generations of Cowboys happy for years to come)

    As far as Fukushima is concerned, if Stuxnet got into their systems, it probably came from a USB drive that one of the Siemens PLC engineers used while they were in Iran, consorting with known criminals. Fault still falls on Tokyo Gas & Electric for not requiring a background investigation of service techs entering their facility. A simple look at a passport might have prevented that infection if it indeed ocurred.

    The ramblings of an anonymous coward notwithstanding, we don't need any more speculations of that type.

    <Sarcasm> What we need are this type: The Republican Party and all of it's party members (especially it's elected and religious leaders) are part of a huge homosexual, fascist conspiracy. By protesting so loudly against Gay Marriage, the Republicans are swaying the American Voter to vote for Gay Marriage. This is specifically designed to double the current amount of Divorce Lawyers and CPA's.

    As you astute readers of El Reg already know, all Republicans are latent closet queens who enjoy dressing up in drag at their exclusive private universities, lying about sexual prowess in "Fraternities", cutting the hair off obviously "gay" prep school classmates (to dissuade discovery), tanning salons and "mens clubs". I mean, just look at their hair for god's sake. Any man who spends that much time in front of a mirror MUST BE GAY. (not that there's anything wrong with that, the courts here have just decided that calling someone gay is no longer defamatory or cause for slander)<sarcasm>

    The Republicans can complain all they want about Obama, at least he was not lifelong friends with the BinLaden family like Bush Sr & Jr were. If anone is keeping track, Obama has kept almost all of his campaign promises, unlike most of his predeccessors. Oh, and he authorized killing Osama and other members of Al Qaeda. No, he hasn't closed Guantanamo Bay but he has to have someplace to send Republicans with treasonous ambitions.

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: Pope:Catholic.. and Armchair Generals second guess the President - do you want to play a game?

      Nurse! He somehow got on the computer again!

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Pope:Catholic.. and Armchair Generals second guess the President - do you want to play a game?

      "Fault still falls on Tokyo Gas & Electric for not requiring a background investigation of service techs"

      is a bit like saying people with HIV shouldn't fuck monkeys... when it's spread that far the only way is to put a giant condom over your junk (making sure to get plenty of hot glue in all the usb ports.

      course the gear is pretty much fucked by then anyways.

    3. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: ...someplace to send Republicans with treasonous ambitions

      I would bet if that were true, thge C-130's would be stuffed to the limits with Republicans.

      On the inaugural flight, the Captain is heard to say over the intercom: "Ladies, and Gentlemen, you all expense paid vacation trip tot Club Gitmo is preparing for takeoff. Please stow all loose luggage and strap yourself in. Some lucky vacationers will get the 'full experience' by parachuting in from 12,000 feet."

      Why do I keep getting this scene from "Con Air" in my head.

  18. Alfie Noakes
    Joke

    So can LOCOG sue the Merkins for illegally using the phrase "Olympic Games" during 2012 without written permission or an offer of sponsorship?

  19. Armando 123
    Devil

    "Obama wanted to get credit for Stuxnet, as that makes him look tough against Iran," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure. "And he needs that as Presidential elections are coming."

    Well good. Because national security and international law are NEVER more important than a politician's image during an election ...

    Personally I blame Nixon ... but then I've been spending a lot of time with my old hippy in-laws lately ...

  20. Local Group
    Pirate

    "Armchair Generals second guess the President"

    The Pentagon and its Generals are wagging Obama's dog.

    Just like they did with Clinton and baby Bush. Nobody here believes it, but the Pentagon got worried about the crude oil situation in the 1990's and they have been running the show ever since. They got the CIA and the State department to get excited about Iraq, Venezuela, and Iran. They got Obama to commit to the Philippines.

    How does the army move its tanks, fly its planes and fire it's rockets with out oil?

    The Pentagon is telling the President what to do and they're doing it on the Q.T.

  21. Magani
    Black Helicopters

    Conversation as follows?

    Reporter : Was US involved with Stuxnet?

    US Gov : Yes, in cahoots with Mossad.

    Reporter : Was US involved in Flame?

    US Gov : I can neither confirm nor deny...

    Reporter : So that's another 'Yes' then.

  22. Herby Silver badge

    The disclosure was...

    ...pure politics, no more , no less.

    I guess the current people in the White House don't know what the word "secret" actually means. Then there is the propaganda ministry (aka New York Times) that prints whatever they are told to do by the higher ups.

    In any other administration, there would be ALL sorts of congressional inquiries with calls for prosecution (see Scooter Libby case!).

    Than again, maybe the worm invaded the New York Times and the story "just appeared".

  23. 0_Flybert_0
    Mushroom

    we've been at this for thirty years

    we caused one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history on a Siberian gas pipeline with deliberately sabotaged control software .. 1982 ..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_pipeline_sabotage

    1. 0_Flybert_0

      side notes

      these are acts of war ..

      and ... today's wars are economic and China is winning

    2. Roger 11
      Black Helicopters

      Re: we've been at this for thirty years

      Alleged sabotage.

  24. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we sue them?

    So... People who's boxes got infected can sue them? The DoJ should also file.

    1. Paul 129
      Devil

      Re: Can we sue them?

      Isn't it illegal for software to be exported to Iran from the US? Iranian companies sue for damages, from stuxnet. Now that would be a fun exercise.

  26. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Mushroom

    @b 3

    "we just have to hope that the VERY SIMPLE IDEA of a state being able to CREATE MONEY and not BORROW IT AT INTEREST off the banking mafia, will finally sink in"

    Yeah, coz treating economics as a zero-sum game worked sooo well in medieval Europe and state-sponsored inflation worked sooo well in 20th century Russia, so trying out both ideas at the same time (and damn the internal contradiction) couldn't *possibly* have any downside.

  27. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    In a crazy world, stranger things have happened and even been filmed and screened as entertainment

    Re: Fukushima

    Or even better, the quake was somehow organized by the United States? I can see where you're going… …… TheRealRoland Posted Friday 1st June 2012 17:14 GMT

    What would happen if a nuclear weapon were detonated under the deep sea? Would it be obvious or would the aftermath be thought to be a natural catastrophe?

    And is this necessary ……… http://www.rt.com/news/germany-israel-submarine-nuclear-missiles-884/ …… or a blatant possible nuclear proliferation mis-step with a technology capable of dual use on a par with uranium enrichment for peaceful energy purposes?

    Regards,

    SMERSH

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: would it be obvious

      "What would happen if a nuclear weapon were detonated under the deep sea? Would it be obvious or would the aftermath be thought to be a natural catastrophe?"

      Since seismologists are generally willing to offer a figure for how deep an earthquake was, and since that figure is generally measured in kilometres, my guess is that they'd have no trouble at all in detecting an earthquake whose centre was basically at surface level. (That's ocean-bed surface rather than sea-level, but since transverse waves don't travel *at all* through liquids, it is the ocean-bed that counts as surface in this context.

      Even if you took a sub down, drilled a big (wide) well and dropped a nuke down the hole, I think you'd get found out. BP did.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: would it be obvious

        Of course, if the major (geological) powers were working in concert to hush things up...

  28. Ancientbr IT

    Didn't Stuxnet Backfire?

    I'm still looking for the reference, but I recall reading a few months ago that once the Iranians understood the nature and intent of Stuxnet, they redoubled their efforts, spent even more money on even more centrifuges, and achieved their uranium enrichment goals well ahead of time.

    So Stuxnet actually expedited matters rather than slowing them down. Oops.

  29. Dave 13
    Thumb Down

    Obama action figure

    Obama wants so bad to star in his own fictional action movie that he'll harm US national security to thump his chest about his 'exploits'. I can see the packaging for the Obama action figure trumpeting his Stuxnet and Bin Laden cred.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Black market

    "Iran also used the same P-1 centrifuges, sourced from a Pakistani black market dealer."

    All I can get are stolen TVs and rip-off DVDs. Some people have all the luck.

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