Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stranger and stranger ...

So Iran denied that Stuxnet affected its nuclear power plants ... and now President Ahmadinejad says it did. According to the Symantec report about Stuxnet I cited yesterday, most of the Stuxnet attacks were targetted at Iran but abruptly ceased in August ... but Stuxnet infections continued in other parts of the world principally the US.

Now Iran is claiming that the Wikileak US State Department cables claiming that Arab states wanted the US to finish off Iran's nuclear capabilities are in fact CIA fabrications!

Meanwhile an Iranian physicist is assasinated and another wounded in separate attacks in Tehran.

So get your fill of conspiracies ... I'm sure there are more to come!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Amidst all the news of Wikileak exposure of US government documents (and I'd be much interested how all this data was obtained - the Guardian says it comes down to one lowly US army private - I cannot believe one lowly private leaked so many documents! ), much has been made in the last couple of weeks of the Stuxnet v¡rus which targets industrial control systems through Siemens Programmable Logic Controllers and its Windows Step 7 control software.

Conspiracy theories abound.The principal one being that the virus is an attempt by an unnamed government to subvert Iran's nuclear program which has backfired to lead other governments to get worried about their own industrial control systems - anything from power stations, electrical grids, water purification and distribution, factory automation etc etc.

I am sceptical but also surprised for a variety of reasons:

1. News of the Stuxnet virus has been around several months. Only now is the press picking up on it saying it is an attempt to subvert the timing on Iran's nuclear centrifuges.

2. It is only aimed at Siemens PLCs.

3. What the hell is Siemens doing exporting PLCs for use in Iranian nuclear centrifuges? I will admit that a bog standard PLC is hardly rocket science and could control the timing of many industrial processes. However, I thought there were export limitations on technologies that could be used in "rogue" nuclear states such as Iran and North Korea.

4. The Iranians deny that any of their nuclear powerplants have been infected by Stuxnet. So would the USA.

5. PLC software from my limited experience would seem to be very easy to hack. I have only very limited experience but in a previous job a one megawatt powerplant was controlled by simple GEFanuc PLC hard and software, the latter written in a generic form of Basic called MegaBasic.

6. Why would you use a Windows-based program to control your nuclear powerplant?

7. And leading on from 5) and 6) why hasn't PLC software been targeted before? I cannot quite believe that Stuxnet is the first given the importance of PLCs in the functioning of the modern world.

Complete technical report here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Viktor Bout - Congratulations Alex

Alex Harrowell, the Yorkshire Ranter, has been interviewed by Radio Free Europe about the role of the blogosphere in the demise of Viktor Bout.

My Face, Your Face

Facebook wants to copyright the word "face".

To quote the Beeb (ok I don't have too much faith there ...) "If granted, the trademark will only apply to online sites and services used to exchange messages. It could limit the use of the word in other social networks and services, such as Apple's Facetime, lawyers said."

What about that trendy magazine "The Face"?

Should I rename this blog? My Face, Kezia's Face, The Face of My Family?

For that matter should I copyright My Face?

Monday, November 22, 2010

John Lydon

I read today that John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols fame, and a key role model of my formative years, came down with meningitis at the age of seven and endured many months of agonising treatment - agonising both for himself and his parents. And later to have a deep impact on his personal development!

How is Kezia going to turn out?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout, an infamous reputed (until found guilty) international arms-trader, reportedly selling to everyone from the Taleban to the Americans, was arrested in Thailand last year in a sting operation set up by the FBI to supply arms to the Colombian FARC rebel movement.

However, his extradition from Thailand to the US proved problematic ... until this.

My friends Alex Harrowell, Kathryn Cramer, above all Douglas Farah and many others in the blogosphere played various roles in his downfall.

Except is this really his downfall? The story has not finished yet ... much much more to unfold!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Digital Victory

Good to see this story where the music label The Ministry of Sound has backed down from prosecuting filesharers after ISP British Telcomm had deleted 80% of the data that The Ministry of Sound was seeking to obtain. BT says it held onto the data for 90 days according to policy before deletion. This follows upon a massive data leak at The Ministry of Sound's lawyers ACS: Law that saw the confidential details of ISP customers, previously released to the legal firm by court order, published online after a denial of service attack on the firm's website.

Don'cha just luv it!