Saturday, 2 October 2010

Is Israeli Intelligence that sloppy?

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

Dubai ...Lebanon makes you think ... As one US Senior Intelligence Official once told me: "The Israeli intelligence apparatus is really not that good: Whatever they know, we give it to them..."

"... Spoonamore is not so sure. "Compared to releasing code that controls most of the world's hydroelectric dams or many of the world's nuclear plants or many of the world's electrical switching stations? I can think of very few stupider blowback decisions," he says...."

"... But, the article cautions, "a calling card in the code could be part of a mind game, or sloppiness or whimsy from the coders."  
As with Stuxnet's "do not infect" code 19790509 as well. One computer security expert who brought the Symantec analysis to my attention suggested another interpretation of the number could be that it is the birth date of one of the programmers. The 19790509 "string is being used like a password in the code," the computer security expert said, asking to speak anonymously. "People commonly include their birthday in passwords, so perhaps May 9, 1979 is when the programmer who wrote the code was born," he suggested.
He added that Siemens, whose computer systems are reportedly particularly vulnerable to the Stuxnet worm, "on the other hand, likely knows which customer was being targeted by this worm."
Similarly, Israeli intelligence correspondent Yossi Melman also expressed skepticism about both clues.
"While I believe that either Israel, or both Israel and the USA, were behind the cyber attack in Iran and I strongly think [Iran's] Natanz [uranium enrichment facility], rather [than the] Bushehr [nuclear power facility], was the target, I don't think the 'clues' found by the [New York Times] and Symantac are real ones," Melman, of Israeli daily Haaretz, says by e-mail.
"When you plan such an operation, you check and recheck and double check each digit and each letter," he continued. "Israeli intelligence is not that sloppy to leave behind him such clumsy fingerprints. If it wanted to engage in a mind game, they would have done it in a more amusing and sophisticated manner."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 4:23 PM

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