The U.S. handed its main economic rival power to dictate access to these building blocks of modern weapons by ceding control of prices and supply, according to dozens of interviews with industry executives, congressional leaders and policy experts. China in July reduced rare-earth export quotas for the rest of the year by 72 percent, sending prices up more than sixfold for some elements.
Monthly Archives: September 2010 - Page 2
Tehran this week secretly appealed to a number of computer security experts in West and East Europe with offers of handsome fees for consultations on ways to exorcize the Stuxnet worm spreading havoc through the computer networks and administrative software of its most important industrial complexes and military command centers. debkafile’s intelligence and Iranian sources report Iran turned for outside help after local computer experts failed to remove the destructive virus.
“Since Iran’s nuclear program in all probability would be a ‘closed’ system – without internet access – an individual would have had to carry a thumb drive into the facility and insert that into the system,” said Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice President of Intelliegence in a video report available to members of Stratfor, a global intelligence company.
Burton says that the resulting investigation could have a more profound effect on the nuclear program than the infection itself, planting a “seed of paranoia among the managers and bosses, and everybody in the workplace becomes scrutinized as a potential leak.”
The results of the gaming exercises are clear. Pursuing nuclear disarmament in a proliferated world without employing missile defense and maintaining credible nuclear deterrence increases instability, which can lead to nuclear war. Moreover, it is likely that New START will fail to protect the U.S. and its allies from attack, to provide verification of existing programs, and to prevent nuclear proliferation.
Pursuing an arms control strategy of “protect and defend”—in other words, fielding missile defenses and maintaining a modernized, credible nuclear deterrent—appears to be the best option for pursuing arms control and nonproliferation policy while limiting the potential for conflict.
“We had anticipated that we could root out the virus within one to two months,” Hamid Alipour, deputy head of Iran’s Information Technology Co., a part of the ministry of communication and information technology, told the Islamic Republic News Agency. “But the virus is not stable, and since we started the cleanup process three new versions of it have been spreading,” he said.
Now, a researcher from anti-virus provider Symantec has discovered that Stuxnet also spreads by targeting files that administrators use to configure Siemens software. If present on a targeted Windows PC, the so-called Step7 files are automatically poisoned as soon as it is infected, Symantec’s Nicolas Falliere wrote on Monday. When the files are opened later, they touch off a new round of infections.
Experts on Iran and computer security specialists yesterday voiced a growing conviction that the worm that has infected Iranian nuclear computers was meant to sabotage the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz – where the centrifuge operational capacity has dropped over the past year by 30 percent.
Iran admitted Monday, Sept. 27 it was under full-scale cyber terror attack. The official IRNA news agency quoted Hamid Alipour, deputy head of Iran’s government Information Technology Company, as saying that the Stuxnet computer worm “is mutating and wreaking further havoc on computerized industrial equipment.”
Stuxnet was no normal worm, he said: “The attack is still ongoing and new versions of this virus are spreading.”