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Schneier Calls US Stuxnet Cyberattack a 'Destabilizing and Dangerous' Action 351

alphadogg writes "Revelations by The New York Times that President Barack Obama in his role as commander in chief ordered the Stuxnet cyberattack against Iran's uranium-enrichment facility two years ago in cahoots with Israel is generating controversy, with Washington in an uproar over national-security leaks. But the important question is whether this covert action of sabotage against Iran, the first known major cyberattack authorized by a U.S. president, is the right course for the country to take. Are secret cyberattacks helping the U.S. solve geopolitical problems or actually making things worse? Bruce Schneier, whose most recent book is 'Liars and Outliers,' argues the U.S. made a mistake with Stuxnet, and he discusses why it's important for the world to tackle cyber-arms control now."
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Schneier Calls US Stuxnet Cyberattack a 'Destabilizing and Dangerous' Action

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  • Obama's Record (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:31AM (#40369017) Journal

    I voted for Obama based on two things: I hated how George Bush increased deficits recklessly and I hated how the Republican cavalierly meddled in other country's affairs using military might.

    I feel like a fool.

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:31AM (#40369025)

    The U.S. made a mistake with Iran with that stupid "Axis of Evil" speech. I'm still not sure why that speech isn't recognized as one of the biggest diplomatic blunders in recent history. First of all, lumping Iran and North Korea in with Iraq (who Bush planned to invade) served no good purpose. It was basically an open threat to Iran and North Korea that we were going to invade them next. And, not surprisingly, both responded by ramping up their nuclear weapons programs to a feverish pace (since nukes are basically the only way to ensure that the U.S. can't invade).

    Iran was actually getting pretty moderate before that speech, even sending open condolences and holding vigils after 9-11, with fairly moderate leadership. After the speech we get Ahmadinejad and and full-on nuke program. Smart move, George.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:44AM (#40369203)

    Smart move, George.

    Intentional move, with successful outcome. The POTUS needs an outside enemy so the people will forget to debate internal issues.

  • Re:Obama's Record (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:52AM (#40369303) Journal

    The only difference between machines and bullets is that it's easier to affect a far more widespread amount of machines in a more discriminate fashion.
    Disable pacemakers? Shut down a hospital's equipment? These things will kill people too.

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:58AM (#40369375)

    If you had read my statement more carefully, you would note that I said "Iran was actually getting pretty moderate before that speech", that means the people as well as the government. Yes, before that speech the people held vigils and the government sent condolences. It was only afterwards that they ramped up their dormant nuke *weapons* program and elected nutjob (by a 62% margin) to lead the country.

    Before dipshit got up and made his "Axis of Evil" speech, the people were quite sympathetic to the U.S. and their leader was Mohammad Khatami [], a reformer and moderate. Guess what happened to him after W. had his "We're coming for you next, Iran" cowboy moment?

  • by Maximum Prophet ( 716608 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:59AM (#40369387)
    A friend of mine was in the Air Force in the '50s, stationed in France. While he was there, several Soviet generals were invited to tour the facilities, and inspect the bombers. My friend stated that if he had disclosed this information, he'd have been hanged, but here they were giving it away.

    Of course, this was a controlled release of info, excluding critical operational details. Deterrence only works if the other side thinks that you have better weapons and will use them. So, yes, sometimes you do have to leave a calling card. The thing is, sometimes it looked like the US Government and the Soviet Government were in a conspiracy against their own respective peoples.
  • Re:Obama's Record (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kidbro ( 80868 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:02AM (#40369423)

    This is possible, but at least it hasn't happened yet. While I'm not particularly happy about the Stuxnet attack, I couldn't accuse it of murdering hospital patients & civilians.
    The same can not be said for the gun using meat space branch of the American war machine.

  • Re:Nonsense! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:05AM (#40369471) Homepage

    The astonishing thing is that anyone in the Obama administration was stupid enough to think that secrecy could be maintained on this indefinitely.

    Who says they were thinking that? Trying to keep it under wraps as long as possible (a reasonable strategy from a tactical/strategic POV) does not imply the belief it can be done so indefinitely.

    Your sentence makes a nice target against which to launch a tirade, but barring corroborating facts, it is one built on speculation.

  • Re:Obama's Record (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vawwyakr ( 1992390 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:23AM (#40369685)
    The problem is here in the US, we're faced with a set of false choices. Both sides are lying backstabbing scum bags, it really doesn't matter who you vote for at this point. Obama just doubled down on the proof of this. People who point fingers at one side of the other are just missing the reality of the situation and getting caught up in the gamesmanship that is going on.
  • Re:Obama's Record (Score:5, Insightful)

    by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:23AM (#40369687) Homepage

    So let me get this straight, you thought any US administration was just going to sit by and let Iran gain nuclear capabilities.

    Apparently that is his/her line of thinking, and for that, humanity weeps.

    I don't understand what in Baal's name these ignoramuses expected when they voted for Obama, that he was going to kumbaya his way to the Ayatollah's hearts, that Bin Laden was going to repent and kill himself out of remorse, that all the jobs that went to China will come back (and with a pay increase to boot), and that all the shit that permeates international reality was going to magically turn into Pandora's bioluminescent flowers and hexapodal bunnies with cute emerald eyes, with Thinkerbell pixie dust poured from over a rainbow in peaceful anarchic harmony?

    Uninformed, delutional ideological thinking (be it left or right leaning), that is the stuff nightmares are made of.

    I didn't vote for Obama in 2008, but I can't really say he is doing a terrible job, or that he lied. I actually like him more than what the GOP (the party I'm registered for) has to offer, and he has done a decent job considering all current factors.

    People who now feel betrayed for voting for him are as stupid as the people who think Obama is the root cause of all evil and that shit will turn to honey once they vote a Repub back into the presidency (specially if he believes Darwin's "On The Origin of Species" is a work of fiction.)

    Stupidity of the most grotesque kind permeates both sides of the political spectrum. Such is the ethos of the at-will uneducated simpleton masses.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:38AM (#40369837)

    Wait, why does America, Russia and China get to have thousands of nukes and Iran can't have any? Does that sound fair? Who has the moral high ground here? And why does Iran want a nuke anyway? Would it be because Israel has them? Is that fair?

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:40AM (#40369873)

    The pacific portion of WWII ended because we annihilated two cities

    Yeah, except there is just one problem with that Iran = WWII-Japan analogy. Iran never attacked us, isn't at war with us, and has absolutely no imperial ambitions. But other than that, sure, Iran is exactly like Imperial Japan in 1945.

  • by tqk ( 413719 ) <> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:56AM (#40370115)

    I see this as a valid reprisal against Iran's refusal to cooperate with UN weapon inspections or whatever.

    Sadaam Hussein was fighting UN weapons inspectors tooth and nail, yet he didn't even have WMDs. Perhaps he just didn't want his adversaries to know how weak he was? Considering all the sabre rattling the US's done recently, I'd be holding my cards close to my chest too were I Iran.

  • Re:Yes, and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:07AM (#40370285) Journal

    And if you see a vulnerability in scum like Kim Barking Mad Teapots North Korea or Ahmadinejad's Iran then we should be doing our best to take them out now whilst we still can.

    Which is exactly the mind set that got us into this position. Neither Iran nor North Korea would be such a big problem for us now if we hadn't sponsored a coup in one, and used the other as a proxy during the Cold War.

    The way we deal with them today will set the stage for the next 50-100 years. We can keep fucking with them, or we can work on decreasing tensions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:08AM (#40370299)

    "You can't stay on the moral high ground either if you just sign a non proliferation agreement and then work with nuke stuff behind everyone's back."

    If you are serious, you are about as clueless as it gets.

    There is no such thing as "moral high ground" any more.

    The only thing that matters is power. And no one with any actual intelligence
    can blame countries for wanting to have nukes, because that is the ONLY
    guarantee against being buttfucked by the US in the event US corporations
    have decided you have something they want.

  • Re:Yes, and? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Glarimore ( 1795666 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:38AM (#40370681)
    I wish I had mod points. A million times this.

    The US regularly commits acts that if committed against us would cause a full-scale war. It's unacceptable. If you're in power and you abuse those around you, guess what happens when you start losing power and they gain it?

    "With great power comes great responsibility." The US over the past 60 years has demonstrated the responsibility of a small child.

    As a young person, I'm just trying to be optomistic the future -- because I really do think this country is fucked.
  • Re:Yes, and? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:57AM (#40370965)

    The US regularly commits acts that if committed against us would cause a full-scale war. It's unacceptable.

    It's international politics. It's always been that way and always will be, despite the howling of a few Utopian dreamers. Get over it.
    The parent doesn't have a crystal ball, and he's got his head right up his ass about Korea. China was an ally of ours during WWII, and as a way of saying "Thanks for kicking the Japs out of our country" they invaded another Ally of ours, Korea. It didn't have jack shit to do with the cold war. Oh, and just FYI that war never ended, NK still claims the South as their land in rebellion, and is still demanding unconditional surrender. You should go study some world history.

  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:59AM (#40371007)

    Rather I have a problem with them agreeing to a treaty and then slyly defying it behind everyone's backs.

    [citation needed]

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay