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Do cyberwars really keep us from fighting?

By Jules Quartly | China Daily | Updated: 2012-09-25 09:37

Do cyberwars really keep us from fighting?

As if there aren't enough things to fight about, there's now the Internet. For the past two years, at least, the United States and Iran have been waging war against each other in cyberspace. This against the worldwide background of state sponsored Internet attacks, stealing secrets and military cyber espionage.

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First off, the US and Israel developed what is being called the world's first cyberweapon, Stuxnet, a clever computer worm that is thought to have been injected into the computers of Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities causing the centrifuge machines refining uranium - for bombs/peaceful use, take your pick - to break down.

And there's a lot more to come. The New York Times detailed in the summer how US President Barack Obama agreed to continue with Operation Olympic Games, a project that gave birth to Stuxnet and its family of smart Internet bombs, Duqu, Flame and Gauss.

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Stuxnet escaped its nuclear enrichment facility in Iran and now inhabits the Internet, where spyware giants Kaspersky and Symantec are examining how to defuse it. Engineers at these companies suggest there are still more of these malicious programs to be discovered.

It's no wonder Iran announced recently it was shutting down the Internet and starting all over again, with a kind of intranet. The country has responded to the attacks by setting up a military cyber unit, encourages its netizens to hack the West, and orchestrates service of denial attacks against US banks.

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