Bonum Certa Men Certa

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

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.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Daniel Pocock: "I've Gone to Some Lengths to Demonstrate How Corporate Bad Actors Have Used Amateur-hour Codes of Conduct to Push Volunteers Into Modern Slavery"
"As David explains, the Codes of Conduct should work the other way around to regulate the poor behavior of corporations who have been far too close to the Debian Suicide Cluster."
 
Links 18/05/2024: Caledonia Emergency Powers, "UK Prosecutor's Office Went Too Far in the Assange Case"
Links for the day
Microsoft ("a Dying Megacorporation that Does Not Create") and IBM: An Era of Dying Giants With Leadership Deficits and Corporate Bailouts (Subsidies From Taxpayers)
Microsoft seems to be resorting to lots of bribes and chasing of bailouts (i.e. money from taxpayers worldwide)
US Patent and Trademark Office Sends Out a Warning to People Who Do Not Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats
They're punishing people who wish to use open formats
Links 18/05/2024: Fury in Microsoft Over Studio Shutdowns, More Gaming Layoffs
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 17, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, May 17, 2024
Links 18/05/2024: KOReader, Benben v0.5.0 Progress Update, and More
Links for the day
Microsoft-Connected Sites Trying to Shift Attention Away From Microsoft's Megebreach Only Days Before Important If Not Unprecedented Grilling by the US Government?
Why does the mainstream media not entertain the possibility a lot of these talking points are directed out of Redmond?
[Meme] UEFI 'Secure' Boot Boiling Frog
UEFI 'Secure' Boot: You can just ignore it. You can just turn it off. You can hack on it as a workaround. Just use Windows dammit!
The Market Wants to Delete Windows and Install GNU/Linux, UEFI 'Secure' Boot Must Go!
To be very clear, this has nothing to do with security and those who insist that it is have absolutely no credentials
In the United States Of America the Estimated Share of Google Search Grew After Microsoft's Chatbot Hype (Which Coincided With Mass Layoffs at Bing)
Microsoft's chatbot hype started in late 2022
Techrights Will Categorically Object to Any Attempts to Deny Its Right to Publish Informative, Factual Material
we'll continue to publish about 20 pages per day while challenging censorship attempts
Links 17/05/2024: Microsoft Masks Layoffs With Return-to-office (RTO) Mandates, More YouTube Censorship
Links for the day
YouTube Progresses to the Next Level
YouTube is a ticking time bomb
Journalists and Human Rights Groups Back Julian Assange Ahead of Monday's Likely Very Final Decision
From the past 24 hours...
[Meme] George Washington and the Bill of Rights
Centuries have passed since the days of George Washington, but the principles are still the same
Video of Richard Stallman's Talk From Four Weeks Ago
2-hour video of Richard Stallman speaking less than a month ago
statCounter Says Twitter/X Share in Russia Fell From 23% to 2.3% in 3 Years
it seems like YouTube gained a lot
Journalist Who Won Awards for His Coverage of the Julian Assange Ordeals Excluded and Denied Access to Final Hearing
One can speculate about the true reason/s
Richard Stallman's Talk, Scheduled for Two Days Ago, Was Not Canceled But Really Delayed
American in Paris
3 More Weeks for Daniel Pocock's Campaign to Win a Seat in European Parliament Elections
Friday 3 weeks from now is polling day
Microsoft Should Have Been Fined and Sanctioned Over UEFI 'Lockout' (Locking GNU/Linux Out of New PCs)
Why did that not happen?
Gemini Links 16/05/2024: Microsoft Masks Layoffs With Return-to-office (RTO) Mandates, Cash Issues
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 16, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, May 16, 2024
Ex-Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier Did Not Retire, He Just Left IBM/Red Hat a Month Ago (Ahead of Layoff Speculations)
Rather than retire he took a similar position at another company
Linux.com Made Its First 'Article' in Over and Month, It Was 10 Words in Total, and It's Not About Linux
play some 'webapp' and maybe get some digital 'certificate' for a meme like 'clown computing'
[Meme] Never Appease the Occupiers
Freedom requires truth. Free speech emancipates.
Thorny Issues, Violent Response
They say protests (or strikes) that do not disrupt anything are simply not effective. The same can be said about reporting.
GNU/Linux in Malaysia: From 0.2 Percent to 6+ Percent
That's like 30-fold increase in relative share
Liberty in Liberia? Windows Falls Below 10% and Below iOS
This is clearly a problem for Microsoft
Techrights Congratulates Raspberry Pi (With Caution and Reservations)
Raspberry Pi will "make or break" based on the decisions made in its boardroom
OSI Makes a Killing for Bill Gates and Microsoft (Plagiarism and GPL Violations Whitewashed and Openwashed)
meme and more
The FSF Ought to Protest Against UEFI 'Secure Boot' (Like It Used To)
libreplanet-discuss stuff
People Who Defend Richard Stallman's Right to Deliver Talks About His Work Are Subjected to Online Abuse and Censorship
Stallman video removed
GNU/Linux Grows in Denmark, But Much of That is ChromeOS, Which Means No Freedom
Google never designs operating systems with freedom in mind
Links 16/05/2024: Vehicles Lasting Fewer Years, Habitat Fragmentation Concerns
Links for the day
GNU/Linux Reaches 6.5% in Canada (Including ChromeOS), Based on statCounter
Not many news sites are left to cover this, let alone advocate for GNU/Linux
Links 16/05/2024: Orangutans as Political Props, VMware Calls Proprietary 'Free'
Links for the day
The Only Thing the So-called 'Hey Hi Revolution' Gave Microsoft is More Debt
Microsoft bailouts
TechTarget (and Computer Weekly et al): We Target 'Audiences' to Sell Your Products (Using Fake Articles and Surveillance)
It is a deeply rogue industry that's killing legitimate journalism by drowning out the signal (real journalism) with sponsored fodder
FUD Alert: 2024 is Not 2011 and Ebury is Not "Linux"
We've seen Microsofers (actual Microsoft employees) putting in a lot of effort to shift the heat to Linux
Links 15/05/2024: XBox Trouble, Slovakia PM Shot 5 Times
Links for the day
Windows in Times of Conflict
In pictures
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 15, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, May 15, 2024