The War Of The Machines.

by Daniel Russ on February 18, 2011

Binary Code

(When I first posted this article in queue, Watson had not defeated the Jeopardy champion. Now even that hurdle has been overcome by artificial intelligence. I realize that this is not about AI, but it is germane nonetheless in the category of new technology.)

The Stuxnet computer virus was designed by Israeli and the American cyberwarriors, an elegant weapon that waited until it was time to strike and attacked only a specific set of machines running on a specific stack of Siemen computer controllers. Amazingly this new weapon was tested in a lab on the very machine sit was designed to attack, the P-1 centrifuge. The centrifuges are needed to separate the heavy radioactive material and purify it down to bomb grade material. The centrifuges have to be accurate, balanced and they whirl around at blinding speeds to do this refining. The virus itself makes the centrifuges wobble and spin so fast they self-destruct. The Stuxnet attacked the Iranian refinery at Natanz and 984 machines, or one fifth of all their centrifuges were destroyed.

Cyber war is on and its dangerous and could bring an entire nation down. The very fact that an attack was waged on another country through a complex binary code is like watching a Michael Crichton book come to life.



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