Monday, September 27, 2010

Mr. Murphy Scares Me More

There is an interesting little story in The New York Times that you might want to think about.

A Silent Attack, but Not a Subtle One

”Global alarm over the deadly computer worm has come many months after the program was suspected of stealthily entering an Iranian nuclear enrichment plant, perhaps carried on a U.S.B. memory drive containing the malware.

Computer security specialists have speculated that once inside the factory and within the software that controls equipment, the worm reprogrammed centrifuges made by a specific company, Siemens, to make them fail in a way that would be virtually undetectable. Whether the program achieved its goal is not known.”

The obvious air traffic control implications come towards the bottom of the piece.

”An even more remarkable set of events surrounded the 2007 Israeli Air Force attack on what was suspected of being a Syrian nuclear reactor under construction.

Accounts of the event initially indicated that sophisticated jamming technology had been used to blind the radar so Israeli aircraft went unnoticed. Last December, however, a report in an American technical publication, IEEE Spectrum, cited a European industry source as raising the possibility that the Israelis had used a built-in kill switch to shut down the radar.”

Once again, the words of a fictional engineer come to mind; “The more they over-think the plumbing...”

But all in all, Mr. Murphy still scares me more.

Don Brown
September 27, 2010

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