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Published by Bradford Absher

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Published by: Bradford Absher on Dec 06, 2012
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Absher 1Bradford AbsherProfessor Malcolm CampbellEnglish 110326 November 2012Cyber Warfare Serves as Modern BattlefieldsFor centuries, battlefields have determined who would have power and hegemony torule, command, and influence. From catapults and cannons to guns and mustard gas, thebattlefield prompts technological advancements as men wield their weapons of destruction. However, the advent of atomic weaponry has almost deracinated the conceptof the battlefield; the need for armies and their respective hardware, in many cases, havebeen rendered obsolete by modern technologies. Drones and cyber weapons have cometo replace man to man combat as a more desirable offensive. Due to our contemporaryuse and dependency on technology and its myriad capacities, cyber warfare presentscountries with new ways to fight, whether through physical attacks or intelligence.Computer viruses are being created for hacking purposes, which are being used inmodern day warfare and espionage.Discovered in June 2010,
Stuxnet 
, a sophisticated computer worm, damaged theIranian Nuclear Program by destroying approximately a thousand centrifuges, putting theprogram back years. The Iranian nuclear program has western powers concerned,including Israel. Publicly, Iran defends its pursuit of nuclear power, saying that itsintention is purely peaceful. Due to the complexity of 
Stuxnet 
, it had to have been builtby a government with various resources. The implementation of 
Stuxnet 
marks the first
 
Absher 2use of a cyber attack on ano
ther country’s infrastructure
. The United States considers acyber attack an act of war, which is significant when considering the hypotheticalconsequences of an Iranian response to
Stuxnet 
(Nakashima).
Stuxnet 
, named for some of the key words discovered in its software, was developedby the Bush administration under the codename Operation Olympic Games. After thefailure of US forces to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Bush administrationhad little leverage to get Europe or the UN to put tougher sanctions on Iran. They thencame up with the idea of using a computer worm to infect the program. The virus was toresult of collaboration between the NSA, CIA, and the Israel, with the CIA and Israeloverseeing the logistics of getting the virus into the plant. The virus was able to infect aclosed system, one cut off from the World Wide Web, probably through the use of a flashdrive.
It turns out there is always an idiot around who
 
doesn't think much about thethumb drive in their hand,
said one of the architects of 
Stuxnet 
. The testing of the virusspread out across several different national labs, so very few people would know what
exactly was going on. Centrifuges from Mummar Gaddiffi’s scrapped nuclear program,
which are similar to the ones used at the Natanz facility, were used in the testing process(Nakashima).Once it hit the facility, it was able to destroy one thousand
of Iran’s
six thousandnuclear centrifuges (cylinders that are vital in the enrichment of uranium), by makingthem rotate at fast speeds while sending signals that they were operating normally. It wasdesigned to work slowly, sending signals to controllers that everything was workingnormally. This strategy was meant to make the Iranians believe there engineers wereincompetent, as wholesale destruction would make sabotage obvious. The virus was able
 
Absher 3to escape through the internet, probably when an engineer had his computer hooked up toone of the centrifuges. The virus, due to a programming error, infected his computer;thus, when the engineer took his computer home and connected to the internet, the viruswas able to spread on the worldwide web. At this point, Iranian officials became awareof the virus (Mauer).Another cyber weapon is called
Flame
.
Flame
is a computer malware that infectscomputers and records information, and it is twenty times larger than
Stuxnet 
althoughunlike Stuxnet, which was designed for sabotage, it is designed for spying, withoutcausing physical destruction.
Flame
can
 
record key strokes, take pictures on applications,
The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmdinejad, inspect centrifuges at the Natanz Nuclear Facility.Centrifuges like these were destroyed by Stuxnet.
 

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