JERUSALEM May 18, 2013 — One argument made by opponents of a military strike against
To support that assertion, politicians and pundits point to the great success that the West has had in setting back the nuclear program of the regime in
The best-known weapon in this clandestine cyber-war is Stuxnet, a computer worm that infiltrated the devices governing
You don’t need to be a computer genius or a military expert to guffaw at this suggestion.
It was no surprise, then, when Saeed Jalili, chief Iranian negotiator and presidential candidate loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenai, met with European Union foreign policy head Catherine Ashton in Istanbul on Thursday to discuss a resumption of talks with the 5+1 countries — the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — “that will take place soon.”
Ashton may be pleased as punch with the outcome of this tete-a-tete, particularly since she seems to agree with Jalili and his ilk that
What few people realize, however, is that Stuxnet wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Indeed, according to a new report, published in the Royal United Services Institute journal, Stuxnet may have done more harm to the West than good.
The study, “Are Cyber-Weapons Effective? Assessing Stuxnet’s Impact on the Iranian Enrichment Programme,” conducted by King’s College academic Ivanka Barzashka, calls into question commonly held assumptions about the famous computer worm and the consequences of its performance.
“Considering Stuxnet’s destructive potential, it is surprising that more machines were not affected,” writes Barzashka. “Clearly, the Iranian operator managed to contain the problem …
Barzashka based her detailed report on International Atomic Energy Agency physical inventory data, which prove that “uranium-enrichment capacity grew during the time that Stuxnet was said to have been destroying Iranian centrifuges.” And, she explains, “an increase in enrichment capacity or centrifuge performance shortens the time
If anything, the malware — if it did in fact infiltrate Natanz — has made the Iranians more cautious about protecting their nuclear facilities, making the future use of cyber-weapons against Iranian nuclear targets more difficult.”
In a funny yet predictable twist coming from a British academic, Barzashka’s conclusion from her own research is that cyber-warfare is not the way to go about extending goodwill gestures towards
It is time to stop worming our way out of undertaking the inevitable: bombing
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