EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.24.10

Who Needs Windows Back Doors When It’s So Insecure?

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mohammad Mosaddeq

Summary: Stuxnet is allegedly part of a plan to infect computer systems in Iran for political reasons, according to an increasing body of evidence

SO, it’s starting to look like Stuxnet [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] was part of a plot to derail Iran’s nuclear programme [1, 2]. Stuxnet makes use of zero-day Windows vulnerabilities rather than back doors. Will governments finally realise that foreign governments can use Windows against them? Software freedom is essential to one’s autonomy.

The debate about Stuxnet and Iran is only starting. So far we’ve come across the following reports (there are many more):

i. Advanced Computer Worm Was Specifically Designed to Attack Iranian Nuclear Reactor, Experts Say

The sophisticated computer worm called Stuxnet, which has been targeting industrial operations around the world, was likely designed to take out Iran’s new Bushehr nuclear reactor, cybersecurity experts say. It’s the first known cyber-super-weapon designed to destroy a real-world target, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

Researchers studying the worm say it was built by an advanced attacker with plentiful resources — possibly a nation-state. Initially, experts thought it was designed for industrial espionage, but upon examining its code, they now think it was built for sabotage.

ii. Synchronize Your OpenOffice Documents With Google Docs, Zoho And WebDAV Servers Using Ooo2gd

iii. Microsoft confirms it missed Stuxnet print spooler ‘zero-day’

Contrary to reports, a bug that Microsoft patched last week had been publicly discussed a year and a half ago, security researchers said this week.

Microsoft confirmed Wednesday that it overlooked the vulnerability when it was revealed last year.

The vulnerability in Windows Print Spooler service was one of four exploited by Stuxnet, a worm that some have suggested was crafted to sabotage an Iranian nuclear reactor.

iv. Stuxnet virus may be aimed at Iran nuclear reactor

A highly sophisticated computer worm that has spread through Iran, Indonesia and India was built to destroy operations at one target: possibly Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor.

That’s the emerging consensus of security experts who have examined the Stuxnet worm. In recent weeks, they’ve broken the cryptographic code behind the software and taken a look at how the worm operates in test environments. Researchers studying the worm all agree that Stuxnet was built by a very sophisticated and capable attacker, possibly a nation state, and it was designed to destroy something big.

[...]

One of the things that Langner discovered is that when Stuxnet finally identifies its target, it makes changes to a piece of Siemens code called Organisational Block 35. This Siemens component monitors critical factory operations, things that need a response within 100 milliseconds. By messing with Operational Block 35, Stuxnet could easily cause a refinery’s centrifuge to malfunction, but it could be used to hit other targets too, Byres said. “The only thing I can say is that it is something designed to go bang,” he said.

Whoever created Stuxnet developed four previously unknown zero-day attacks and a peer-to-peer communications system, compromised digital certificates belonging to Realtek Semiconductor and JMicron Technology, and displayed extensive knowledge of industrial systems. This is not something that your run-of-the-mill hacker can pull off. Many security researchers think that it would take the resources of a nation state to accomplish.

[...]

Now that the Stuxnet attack is public, the industrial control systems industry has come of age in an uncomfortable way. And clearly it will have more things to worry about. “The problem is not Stuxnet. Stuxnet is history,” said Langner. “The problem is the next generation of malware that will follow.”

Any politically-motived Windows worm shows that technology and politics cannot be separated and they come at a high cost to the public (a side effect). Some people point fingers at Israeli hackers.

Malware believed to be targeting Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant may have been created by Israeli hackers

[...]

However Graham Cluley, senior consultant with the online security company Sophos, warned against jumping to conclusions about the target of the attack, saying “sensationalist” headlines were “a worry”. Clulely is wary of reports linking Stuxnet with Israel: “It’s very hard to prove 100% who created a piece of malware, unless you are able to gather evidence from the computer they created it on – or if someone admits it, of course.”

But he said that its characteristics did not suggest a lone group. “I think we need to be careful about pointing fingers without proof, and I think it’s more appropriate – if true – to call this a state-sponsored cyber attack rather than cyber terrorism.”

Stuxnet works by exploiting previously unknown security holes in Microsoft’s Windows operating system. It then seeks out a component called Simatic WinCC, manufactured by Siemens, which controls critical factory operations. The malware even uses a stolen cryptographic key belonging to the Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer RealTek to validate itself in high-security factory systems.

Should the whole world be flooded with Windows worms just because of political altercations of few nations? Should a better operating system like GNU/Linux be used to mitigate international threats. When does the cyber threat become greater than nuclear threats in an age when everything from food production to energy extraction [1, 2] and travel depends on connected computers? Without energy and transportation, food cannot be grown, cultivated, and delivered; that is where the most fundamental needs can or cannot be met, especially at times of natural disaster or war, so leaving one’s critical systems (that’s almost any system) under Microsoft’s reign is a strategic blunder. Proprietary software is subjected to the sovereignty of its sole maker.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Video: LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman

    LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman



  2. GNU World Order is a Personal Sacrifice, LinuxWorld Just Business

    As the Linux Foundation shows, Linux is just business (and proprietary software) as usual, software patents included, whereas it’s GNU that continues the Free Software Movement’s battles



  3. Links 20/2/2020: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU18, Mesa 20, VirtualBox 6.1.4

    Links for the day



  4. Open Source Did Not Win, It Was Assimilated to and by Proprietary Software

    Don’t fall for the whole “Open Source has won!” spiel; You know we’ve lost the battle (and were in effect gradually conquered) at OSI and elsewhere when those who speak for the OSI are Michael Cheng (Facebook), Max Sills (Google), and Chris Aniszczyk (Linux Foundation); they say “Open Source Under Attack” (FOSDEM talk) but their employers are the ones attacking and they downplay openwashing



  5. Former Microsoft Employees Don't Like Talking About Past and Present Microsoft Back Doors (Designed for Spy Agencies)

    In a typical Microsoftian fashion, once they cannot defend the illusion/delusion that Microsoft values security the 'Softers' run away and block any further debate



  6. Techrights Warns Against Impending Extradition Efforts (Passage of Julian Assange to His Death in the United States)

    Imprisonment of journalists who are effective at exposing crimes (of the powerful, not petty crimes) must never be condoned



  7. Team UPC: Many Mouths and No Ears

    The mental condition of Team UPC gets more worrisome by the week



  8. Team UPC Insults Judges Because the UPC is Dead and UPC Lobbyists Have Nothing Left to Lose

    More judge-shaming tactics are in the mix; Team UPC seems to feel like there's nothing left to lose as the UPC is already dead (hope itself is next to die)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 19, 2020



  10. China Bashing is Grounded in Fear (That They Can Simply Do Better Than the West)

    The atmosphere of hate towards China — fuelled partly by a white supremacist in the White House — is unhelpful and insulting; dignity and understanding is the way to go



  11. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 18, 2020



  12. FFII Press Release: Germany Can No Longer Ratify the Unitary Patent Due to Brexit and the Established AETR Case-law, says FFII

    Germany cannot ratify the current Unitary Patent due to Brexit and the established AETR case-law. The ratification of the UPC (Unified Patent Court) by Germany would constitute a violation of the AETR case-law, which was used during the EPLA negotiations in 2006 to consider a deal with non-EU countries, such as Switzerland.



  13. DRM (Proprietary Software) Already Makes Mozilla Firefox Broken, Unreliable, Undependable (Dependent on Binary Blobs)

    More people are beginning to realise that Mozilla resorted to self-harming DRM and self-inflicted damage that impacts Firefox; can Mozilla (re)join the anti-DRM coalitions?



  14. EPO and Other Patent Updates Over RSS

    Site syndication (over RSS feeds or XML/Atom) is vastly better than what became popular in recent years (censored, centralised, discriminatory "Social Control Media"); here are some feeds of interest



  15. When It Comes to a Unitary Patent System, Bad (or Intentionally Dishonest) Legal Advice Has Become the Norm

    The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent (UPC and UP, respectively) reinforce the old saying about lawyers being liars, doing anything to attract clients (to take their money); the UPC is basically dead, but fiction, falsehoods and outrageous fantasies still find their way into Web sites of law firms



  16. Links 19/2/2020: KDE Plasma 5.18.1, GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 and WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  17. Is Linux Foundation a Microsoft Branch Now?

    The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (LF) nowadays helps Microsoft cement its monopoly — the very opposite of what ages ago it said the LF would do



  18. Are Songs Property? And Maths Also Property? Artificial Monopolies Are Not Property...

    Patent maximalists continue to face stronger arguments from their sceptics, who rightly allege that words are being intentionally misused and numbers fabricated so as to distort underlying facts



  19. Battistelli Blocked Techrights at EPO (Banned for More Than 5 Years), So CEIPI Won't Respect Access to Information Either

    The use of censorship to confront people who talk about (not even expose) corruption isn't novel; but the adoption of this approach in Europe (not just places like Russia and China) is definitely noteworthy



  20. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, February 17, 2020



  21. Links 18/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC2, Wine 5.2, GNU Social Contract and Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 16, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 16, 2020



  23. Links 16/2/2020: MX Linux 19.1 and MyPaint 2.0

    Links for the day



  24. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 15, 2020



  25. Guest Article: Au Revoir, GNU/Linux

    "Funny how OSI just ended up being another vehicle for their takeover of the computing world..."



  26. Former Microsoft Employee: ZDNet is Owned by Microsoft (and Others) in Some Senses

    A noteworthy message we've received from someone who knows Microsoft from the inside



  27. Links 15/2/2020: Blender 2.82, Qt 5.15 Alpha and NetBSD 9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft Views 'Open Source' as a Zero-Cost Heist Opportunity (Making Proprietary Software/Spyware Using Other People's Free Labour)

    Making GPL-licensed (copyleft) software and hosting it outside Microsoft’s jaws is the best way to counter the abusive monopolist, which still says it “loves” what it is actually attacking



  29. Did Microsoft 'Buy' ZDNet?

    A look at what ZDNet tells its readers (screenshot from this morning) and a rare look at how its writers are censored/suppressed



  30. Anatomy of a Crime and Protection From Prosecution

    It’s hard to forget what António Campinos hides for his friend


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts