July 27, 2016

The Secret Cyberwar is Here: Director Alex Gibney on 'Zero Days' Documentary, Stuxnet & Cyberweapons

"It's interesting that cyber weapons can only be launched with the permission of the President of the United States. That makes them analogous entirely to nuclear weapons." - Alex Gibney (quote is from the interview below).

An excerpt from, "The US could have destroyed Iran's entire infrastructure without dropping a single bomb" By Paul Szoldra, Tech Insider, July 6, 2016:
The United States had a top-secret operation that gave it the ability to shut down much of Iran's infrastructure ahead of a full-scale war, without a single bomb being dropped.

The incredible insight into a highly-classified cyber operation called Nitro Zeus was first exposed in the film "Zero Days" and later corroborated by The New York Times, which interviewed intelligence and military officials who were involved.
Video Title: The Secret Cyberwar is Here: Director Alex Gibney on 'Zero Days' Documentary, Stuxnet & Cyberweapons. Source: ReasonTV. Date Published: July 8, 2016. Description: 
"The potential for enormous destruction and loss of life is palpable when it comes to cyberweapons," says Alex Gibney, director of the new film Zero Days, which delves into the creation, deployment, and implications of the Stuxnet virus. Stuxnet, a self-replicating cyberweapon launched by the U.S. and Israel into the Natanz nuclear plant in Iran, was an effort to thwart Iran's nuclear progress by taking control of the plant's centrifuges, spinning them until they would explode. "The reason it is hugely significant is it is the first time a computer code has crossed the threshold from the realm of cyber to the realm of the physical. So it is blowing stuff up."

"It was a brilliant and elegant weapon which achieved a goal of slowing down Iran's path to being a nuclear power. However, as a precedent, it was extremely dangerous because it was an attack on critical infrastructure during peacetime. Had that been done to us we would have been within our rights to start a war."

While Zero Days unfolds as a detective story, following the cybersecurity experts at Symantec who discovered the Stuxnet virus, a good portion of the film portrays the continued secrecy of cyberwarfare, something Gibney finds both frustrating and dangerous.