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More on the Stuxnet Disclosure

June 2, 2012

Now a new disclosure in the ongoing battle to reveal more and more details about Stuxnet, the floodgates are open.

Some Stuxnet-related merchandizing

Photo credit: Eugene Kaspersky

Now the Wall Street Journal has established two new players, the CIA’s Information Operations Center and the Idaho National Laboratory, as being key members of the design team for Stuxnet, in an article here. According to the article:

The CIA declined to comment. The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on behalf of Idaho National Lab, which is run by the Department of Energy but has joint programs with a number of government agencies.

I had a senior at the Department of Defense remark to me about these reports that ‘these reports are from newspapers, they’re not official’.  Yes, but Woodward and Bernstein would beg to differ.

A senior cybersecurity expert shared with me a few thoughts about this situation:

  • Stuxnet did not attack a critical infrastructure, it is not impacting the Iranian economy, as would an attack on the power grid or telecoms..
  • It is not a broad spectrum campaign against many countries, but is rather very focused
  • The more important consequences are:
    • US diplomacy is going to take a hit
    • This portrays the US as a less than moral actor
    • This will motivate adversarial countries to redouble their efforts to develop weapons target US systems.
    • Iran may respond with adversarial actions against our own infrastructure
    • Was this a use of force, the attorneys are going to have a field day discussing this.
    • This may strengthen the ITU’s position as cybersecurity lead
    • Our diplomats will be forced to focus on this and not more important issues
 Whoever leaked this gave this no thought of the strategic implications, there was no strategic thought behind this leak.
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