Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An Elegant Solution to the Problem Set

The title refers to an oft cited requirement in jiu-jitsu. It's not enough to just pummel one's opponent and batter him into submission--although that's always acknowledged as a sound means of ending the confrontation. Instead, it is better to confound him, confuse him, and let him be the architect of his own demise. A liberal application of "brute force and ignorance" may well solve the problem, but it's not the preferred method of engineering the end of the conflict.
This article brought that axiom to mind. The introduction of the stuxnet computer worm into the Iranian "bomb project" called for high-end artistry in at least three different and difficult endeavors (procuring the software codes, introducing stuxnet to the Iranian computing systems, and keeping the malignant code under the radar until it had done its damage). Also, the stuxnet computer worm achieved three different objectives (skewing research and application numbers, so that none of the data can ever be trusted; ruining the life-cycle of Iranian centrifuges; and eating into the Iranian supply of uranium by "spinning" worthless product), all of which will have a long-term, deleterious effect on Iranian nuclear ambitions.
Further, the later attack on two Iranian scientists--at least one of whom was a leader in the effort to mitigate the effects of stuxnet--demonstrates a sublime commitment to spoiling Iranian efforts to generate a nuclear weapon.
Stuxnet represents the high end of the art of cyber mayhem.
The authors of this op make Assange look like a piker.

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