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Horizon - Defeating the Hackers - 19 August 2013

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Messages: 1 - 4 of 4
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by Dot 23 (U15818765) on Tuesday, 20th August 2013

    2 things struck me as very strange in this interesting insight into cryptography -

    1) Barnaby Jack, who shows in the programme how easy it is to hack ATMs, was found dead on 25th July, and coroners in San Francisco say it could be "many months" before cause of death is released. He's not the first wunderkind to end up dead - check out Aaron Swartz' "suicide".

    2) Sean McGurk, US security advisor, talks about Stuxnet's attack on the net, and the danger it poses to powerstations etc., noting that it had damaged Iranian nuclear power facilities. He later says "It was never intended to get in the Wild" - i.e. not outside of nuclear facility infrastructure. How does he know? Did he make it? Does he know the people who made it? Seems PBS news thinks the US and Israel where behind the release of this virus (the same thought crossed my mind and is given further plausibility by this Wikipedia article on stuxnet)

    on pint 2) it seems strange that the possibility that the US created the stuxnet virus wasn't mentioned or mooted at all - only nebulous 'hackers' - there's much talk about the threat to systems from hackers, national security etc but never where these people might come from or what their motives might be.

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Tuesday, 20th August 2013

    I think as regards your second point, it's an open secret that it was almost certainly Israel with a greater or lesser degree of US technical support... but no one out-and-out says that.

    The greater threat in years to come will almost certainly be from national governments using cyberwarfare to forward their agendas. I mean, we're talking about something with the potential to be more damaging to a nation's infrastructure than a bomber squadron.

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  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by Dot 23 (U15818765) on Wednesday, 21st August 2013

    Thanks for you contribution Prophet, I guess my point was more why did the BBC shy away from acknowledging this open secret.

    Cyber warfare is of course a concern, but clearly those best placed to instigate it & benefit from it are the USA and other high tech nations, as poor countries such as Iran wouldn't be able to afford to upgrade their infrastructure to give the sort of protection required.

    Also what I couldn't understand was the glee coming from the researchers involved in quantum cryptography - they seemed very excited by the idea of 'breaking the internet' :O

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Bananas are the best (U15650112) on Wednesday, 21st August 2013

    As seemed to be said in the program, the point is that they lost control of it. That it was not intended to go outside of the nuclear facility infrastructure is neither here nor there. It was not meant to escape teh control of its makers. It has, and now there are concerns that it could be used on a much wider scale than originally intended (including against those who made it) It was said in the program (about 16 minutes in) that it was probably made by the US and Israel.

    Oh, and for the motivation, it was clearly stated that it was to do with the crippling of Iran's Uranium enrichment program. What the experts from Symantec said was that they found no concrete evidence pointing directly to who made it, but it was clear that it was NOT something that could be done by ordinary hackers, it required the resources that could only be provided by a nation state.

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