After David Sanger of the New York Times exposed the very revealing information regarding the Stuxnet computer worm and the U.S.’s alleged involvement in it, a lot of questions began to arise. There has been talk of cybersecurity laws, the threat of cyberwarfare, and many other issues regarding the Internet and the capabilities it has created.
According to Jon Lindsay, who is a research fellow with the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, Stuxnet is a piece of malware that was designed as a cyber attack. Its purpose was to destruct the normal operations of a uranium facility in Iran that has been suspected to be part of a nuclear initiative from the country.
As to whether or not the effort was successful, Lindsay told us that, although it did create confusion among Iranian engineers, the enrichment of uranium continued and even improved during the attack. In other words, he believes it had a “minor effect” on the Iranian plant.
Although there has been a lot of speculation about its influence and whether laws should ban such activity, Lindsay doesn’t think enough information is available at this point to make such judgments. According to him, people shouldn’t be fearful, but cyber efforts will continue going forward. However, he doesn’t think we will see large-scale cyber attacks.
“We will continue to see more and more cybercrime, but no cybercrime that massively brings down financial systems,” he said. “We will continue to see a rise in espionage, but it will continue to be like espionage always is – a very ambiguous instrument.”
What are your thoughts on Stuxnet and the whole concept of cyberweapons? We’d love to hear your thoughts.