Particle Beams

"Luminous Quanta of Divine Intelligence…" dispelling the nuclear delusion

Archive for January 2011

STUXNET: God’s Gift to Man?

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This week we received stunning news. Working quietly with the blessings of the USA, Israel developed a computer worm designed to disable centrifuges. It causes centrifuges to go into a sort of tail spin that burns them out. Last November the worm, called STUXNET,  was delivered to computers at Iran’s nuclear reactor, according to an article in Sunday’s New York Times, and allegedly  destroyed 984 centrifuges for the new reactor that has caused such alarm worldwide.

True to form, Iran’s president denies there were any damages. Iran continues to pressure Russia to complete the reactor on deadline, by this summer, while Russian scientists wring their hands about the dangers that might result. The situation was described as “worse than Chernobyl” in an article in the UK’s Guardian. The worm somehow has traveled to several other countries as far as India.

This is extraordinary news, taking the terms of warfare into an entirely new realm. If we can disable computers long distance, then what might other worms accomplish? Think of it! Carefully contrived and delivered, these sophisticated bits of programming could disable whole systems to an “enemy” country, interrupting electrical services or cell phone towers, or the elaborate communications systems that keep this country in full swing.

But far and away the best application of such technology is, of course, blocking nuclear weapons systems, just as STUXNET aimed to do, although Iran’s nuclear system is not (yet?) a weapons system.

Now, or soon enough, war between nations could be fought and won without a single explosion, just the silent pop of a line of programming. Wow! At first sight, worm warfare is a darn site better than nuclear war.

Of course, it must be daunting to government leaders. Could this be another type of warfare that is so dangerous it’s not worth fighting? What if the Iranians developed a worm that messed up airport navigational systems? Planes would come in for a landing and crash into each other. It would be chaos, and, innocent people would die (not that that usually matters). There would be no warning, and no name tag.

What if we retaliated with a full-scale Air Force attack at the suspect source? You know, show of power. Don’t-mess-with-me sort of thing. The US with its superior military force might do that. Fortunately,  it’s unlikely that Iran is about to retaliate by bombing Israel, provoking a scenario that would wipe out Iran in minutes.

Let’s wait and see the international reaction to this new cyber warfare. Countries that have  spent billions of dollars and six decades creating some 70,000 nuclear bombs (worldwide), governments may now spend billions more, creating worms for defense.

Competition will be fierce. It will be hard to beat the US and Israel at this highly sophisticated new chess game. Israelis are very good at this sort of thing, as STUXNET shows. Everyone will want to be Facebook friends with these two dangerous countries, both possessors of powerful nuclear weapons; allies might win some protection, some assurance, that no worms will be sent against them.

But for now, it looks like worms can get out of control. India is our ally. That didn’t protect India from STUXNET. And who knows but whether the worm might come back to nip its own creator?

This looks to be a very messy business. It suggests there’s a Divine Hand at work. Since the Cold War did not convince everyone that it’s time to give up war and find another way to do business on this planet, was this little worm sent to us to prove the point?

If so, we humans might just get the message: We can’t go on having enemies and making war. It doesn’t work.

Tune in next week for ways to get out of the suicidal dilemma we’re in!

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Written by stephaniehiller

January 21, 2011 at 10:46 pm