I think I've told many of you that I really don't worry about the market or the economy, trusting as I do in the innate entrepreneurial spirit that drives human progress. What I have worried about is Iran. It's being run by crazy people. Today, though, I'm less worried. Apparently, Agent 007 is on the job in Persia.
But, it's not James Bond, who is daring to infiltrate Iran's nuclear facilities. The job is being handled by Stuxnet. Do read on.
I've seen all the Bond movies, but Stuxnet was new to me. I read about him here, at Fox News. Like Bond, Stuxnet is a suave and very sophisticated operator, but he is not human. Rather, he is secret computer worm, which in the last year has virtually crippled Iran's nuclear program, and according to Fox News, caused a major rethinking of computer security around the globe.
Stuxnet was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy, in this case, Iran's nuclear enrichment program:
At Natanz, for almost 17 months, Stuxnet quietly worked its way into the system and targeted a specific component -- the frequency converters made by the German equipment manufacturer Siemens that regulated the speed of the spinning centrifuges used to create nuclear fuel. The worm then took control of the speed at which the centrifuges spun, making them turn so fast in a quick burst that they would be damaged but not destroyed. And at the same time, the worm masked that change in speed from being discovered at the centrifuges' control panel.
At Bushehr, meanwhile, a second secret set of codes... called "digital warheads," targeted the Russian-built power plant's massive steam turbine.
According to Fox News, and despite Iran's claims to the contrary, the worm has been successful in causing confusion among Iran's nuclear engineers and in disabling their nuclear program.
... the worm was designed to allow the Iranian program to continue but never succeed, and never to know why.
So, whodunit? Who's behind Stuxnet?
According to Fox, Eric Byres, a computer security expert who has examined Stuxnet says, "No hacker could have done that. ...It is a military weapon." Other experts apparently agree, as they believe that much of what the worm "knew" could only have come from a consortium of Western intelligence agencies hacking information from companies involved in Iran's nuclear programs.
I'm glad they're on our side! James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, would have to think this operation is really cool, and he'd love the irony:
Embedded in a different section of the code is another common computer language reference, but this one is misspelled. Instead of saying "DEADFOOT," a term stolen from pilots meaning a failed engine, this one reads "DEADFOO7."
Merry Christmas, Mahmoud! Until next week,
PATIENCE, DISCIPLINE, and CONFIDENCE in the FUTURE! mh