The Perfect Weapon reveals the new international cold war: cyber-attacks, hacks and disinformation campaigns happening under our noses
In early 2010, scientists at a uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, Iran, watched their infrastructure malfunction at an unprecedented, inexplicable rate. Technicians inspected their equipment, but could find no explanation for why the plant’s centrifuges – machines to isolate the uranium isotopes needed for nuclear power – were spinning at irregular rates, and then failing.
Five months later, cybersecurity responding to a seemingly separate network malfunction in Iran inadvertently discovered the culprit: a malicious string of code which instructed computers, and the centrifuges they controlled, to vary in speed until their parts broke down, while simultaneously mimicking normal operator instructions, as if playing security footage on a loop in a heist movie. It was computer malware capable of physical, real-world destruction – the world’s first digital weapon, originating from US national intelligence.
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