The Dark Side of IT: Cyber Warfare (pt. 1)


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SPOILER ALERT! A movie is present, so no need to actually read this stuff. Although I would strongly recommend you do, since the you might learn a thing or two.

As I promised yesterday I present to you a first blog about the dark corners of information technology, which are usually better left untouched. I kick off with a banger; cyber warfare. The biggest thing to happen to this dark side in a long time. But what exactly do we mean by cyber warfare? It doesn’t even sound that bad, does it?

Thinking about cyber warfare I immediately thought about the movie WarGames (1983). In this cold war SciFi flick a teenage hacker gains access into an US army supercomputer (called WOPR … ) and while believing he is playing a game it turns out he almost starts WOIII. Although this plot may sound a bit cheesy, the movie is really spot on and worth your precious time. In fact a must see for all new BIMmers!  A little screenshot to convince you (if this brings back childhood memories, please do comment):

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Big Brother is watching you! (George Orwell, 1949)

Another thing that directly comes to mind is George Orwell’s 1984. A visionary novel from one of the best SciFi writers ever. Written in 1949 it shows a future that is ruled by government surveillance and mind control by a totalitarian regime. This is where the famous Big Brother statement comes from which is becoming more present every day. Just think about the presence of Google online or the cameras which are now installed in the M-building (where we have our IS exam this coming Monday).

But this was all Science Fiction, right? Yes, we thought it was. But it seems the real world is catching up rather quickly. It all began in January 2010 (well, probably more around the 1950s, but I won’t bore you with history today) when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected the nuclear facility of Natanz. They found out that physicians were swapping centrifuges at an incredible high rate, which indicated serious problems with the reactor.

The most complex malware ever written (Wired, 2011)

It took until June of 2010 to find out that the reason for these repairs lied in a computer virus, which became known as Stuxnet. This virus was specifically designed to target the Iranian nuclear program and had effectively brought damage to its facilities. For most security experts it was immediately clear that the game had changed, the first massive act of cyber warfare (made publicly) was a fact.

Since I have noticed you like videos I decided to add one explaining Stuxnet in great detail. It is actually really informative!

I’ll stop here and will elaborate more on Stuxnet in pt. 2. In there I will also focus on the current state of cyber warfare where I show that Stuxnet is just the tip of the iceberg. Big Brother really is watching you and maybe even with your own webcam. Click here to read pt. 2!

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About Robert Boerrigter

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5 responses to “The Dark Side of IT: Cyber Warfare (pt. 1)”

  1. Robert Boerrigter says :

    Item from Nieuwsuur (Dutch) about Stuxnet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uVtPERjZxY

  2. Sven says :

    Leuk, ik ben benieuwd naar deel 2.

    • Robert Boerrigter says :

      Hi Sven, really cool you read my post! Working on pt.2 as we speak, I’ll post it on Twitter when I finish 😉 You might want to have a look at the rest of this blog, some nice reads on it.

  3. btijmons says :

    Nicely written, although it’s quite worrying. Didn’t know the exact capabilities of Stuxnet. Looking forward to part2

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