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Plot: A documentary focused on Stuxnet, a piece of self-replicating computer malware that the U.S. and Israel unleashed to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility, and which ultimately spread beyond its intended target. Runtime: 116 mins Release Date: 08 Jul 2016
An Incredible Insight Highlighting the Dangers, Complexity and Fragility of International Cyber Warfare (by wingman1-812-71365)
The new weapons of warfare specifically computer viruses and the climate of secrecy and legality, in which such weapons are used are excellently portrayed in this documentary. Experts of high standing from both the intelligence and cyber security communities have been interviewed and their insights and opinions wonderfully woven together to tell the story of the most complex stealth- like computer virus to have targeted very specific critical infrastructure to date, aka 'The Stuxnet' virus This documentary covers new ground in documentary film making and uses the Stuxnet virus as a <more>
platform to explain many of the complexities, secrecy and politics involved with international cyber warfare and the dangers and to some extent morality of it. Essential informative viewing without doubt!
Great documentary. Very informative and enlightening not for the Pixar crowd . Very honest and surprisingly propaganda-free. The film maker went to great lengths to find credible, knowledgeable and highly qualified people to interview for this topic. Kudos."To make a documentary on such a complicated, far-reaching subject and maintain a common-sense perspective requires formidable organizational skills and a steady narrative hand to keep the movie from straying into any number of theoretical byways. It takes the imagination of a science- fiction writer to make it coherent and <more>
entertaining enough to hold your attention. Mr. Gibney has demonstrated all of these qualities..." Stephen Holden, The New York Times.
This documentary is a masterpiece for one single reason: it reveals something that has been and still is brewing in the wings of many governments and that can lead to a nuclear war directly from cyberspace, without being able to trace the starting point, hence the attacker without information from inside the circle that started it. And when the cyber virus or hostile program or simply malware is active where it is supposed to cause harm it is impossible to stop it. Imagine such a beast in the nuclear "defense" of the nuclear powers in this world. The particular malware used in this <more>
case is Flame first as a precursor and then Stuxnet, code name Olympic Games. The target was Iran in 2010-2011, their centrifuges enriching uranium, and the objective was to make these centrifuges misbehave causing their self-destruction. This Stuxnet was also an artificial intelligence malware since it could circulate in a cyber system till it could find its target, it could install itself in that target, observe for a while after upgrading itself from the Internet, then determine the moment it becomes active and starts sabotaging its target. The most vicious part of it is that it sends to the various controlling systems and units messages of everything being normal as usual. When the controllers find out something is wrong because of their observation of a misbehavior or misconduct of the machines targeted by the malware, it is too late. It is also clear this malware can attack some equipment, like a nuclear plant and cause a tremendous catastrophe and a great number of casualties. Today we can say who did it because someone from inside decided, when they realized they were on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe that could have been hundreds of times worse than Chernobyl, to leak the program onto the Internet and then to leak some details to the director of this documentary a couple of years later.The covert operation against Iran was conducted under Obama and with his consent, a least his more or less passive consent. He will sign an executive order after the fiasco of the operation imposing the responsible services to require and obtain the President's approval, just the same way as for nuclear weapons. The accomplice who was probably a lot more than just a second fiddle, rather the first lead violin or guitar if not the whole orchestra with Obama as the solo tenor, the accomplice was Israel and its Mossad. To know the grim picture of this Mossad, just watch some episodes of NCIS in which it is more than present, actually lethally present. They are specialists of covert twisted and perverse operations that they consider as normal since it is only gathering vital intelligence for Israel and cleaning up the plate afterwards by killing all informers to leave no witnesses behind. NCIS is not a documentary and this vision is maybe slightly excessive but the plan behind Stuxnet was covert twisted and perverse.The objective was to destroy the nuclear facilities of Iran by making the centrifuges explode. That would have blown up and out tremendous quantities of radioactive uranium, killed many people in the facility and around it, irradiated probably millions of people in Iran and then it would have spread like a cloud all over the world. Covert, twisted, perverse AND LETHAL. This malware was a potential Weapon of Mass Destruction. The only defense of Obama in this situation is that he had inherited the baby from George W. Bush and he was not informed in due time and before it was actually going. We can even think that if it had not been leaked out onto the Internet in a way we cannot know it would not have been stopped. The New York Times says the malware was by some accident downloaded onto the personal work station of some worker in the Iranian nuclear facility and from there it jumped onto the Internet. But then the Iranians knew and they protected the facility. Only a small proportion of the centrifuges were disturbed and had to be taken care of. It slowed down Iran's progress in their nuclear program, but after the event Iran caught up with a vengeance.The documentary then explains how the Iranians decided to launch two cyberattacks onto the USA, particularly their banks to show them that if the USA can do it, Iran and many other people can do it too. Such cyberattacks can be absolutely anonymous, untraceable and yet the Iranians made them traceable so that the USA could get the message. Obama got it. He signed the executive order I have already mentioned and he started moving towards a diplomatic treatment of the situation after the second election. Israel and their Prime Minister were furious and rejected in the United Nations the Iranian deal. But I guess Obama was furious enough to have been manipulated to keep some cool distrust and distance towards the Israeli Prime Minister known as BIBI. But you must understand that we know about it, and we are still here to know about it because it failed because of a leak. But any US President can use such technological malware to destroy someone, some country he or she considers an "adversary" as the US Coast Guard says so well in its latest Cyber Strategy report June 2015 . When you read this report you find out the US Coast Guard is central in the fight against cybercrime in their domain protection of the USA by protecting the oceans, ports and harbors, rivers and lakes and that the objective is not only defensive. It is worded in such a way that the expert hackers they recruit or hire are supposed to "defend Cyberspace, enable operations and protect infrastructure." Cyberspace is in no way a national reality; It is a global reality that evades control and protection within the borders of any particular country. . .
A Fascinating - And Very Disturbing - Insight Into Cyberwarfare (by gogoschka-1)
This was one of the most enlightening documentaries I've seen in recent years; it was also one of the most disturbing films I've seen in a long time. I had no idea how far into the age of cyberwarfare we already are, and how serious the consequences of this kind of conflict already can be. If you're a conspiracy theorist or otherwise prone to paranoia, don't watch this - but if you want to learn some of the darker secrets most government agencies try to shield our fragile little minds from, and if you want to know some hard truths about what's possible and what's <more>
already happening in terms of cyberattacks, I highly recommend this excellent documentary. 9 stars out of 10.Favorite films: IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: imdb.com/list/ls075552387/Lesser-Known Masterpieces: imdb.com/list/ls070242495/Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: imdb.com/list/ls054808375/
Top-Notch Documentary Thriller: Vital Implications for Everyone (by vsks)
This two-hour documentary released Friday, July 8, and playing in selected theaters and streaming online, traces the history and consequences of Stuxnet, a sophisticated piece of malware unleashed on the world in 2010. Before you yawn and click away, there's an important feature of the Stuxnet worm and others like it that makes this story of vital interest to you. Stuxnet was not designed to invade your home or office computer, but to attack the industrial control systems that manage critical infrastructure. These systems make sure trains and airplanes don't crash, control car and <more>
truck traffic, maintain oil and gas production, manage industrial automation, ensure you have water to brush your teeth with and electricity to run the coffee maker, keep life-saving medical technology operating, and, of course, give you access to the internet. Cyber-attacks on these systems cause real-world, physical destruction, even widespread death. Behind the Computer Screen The Stuxnet story—still highly classified, but revealed over time—began with an effort by the United States and Israel to thwart Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons by destroying centrifuges at the country's Natanz uranium enrichment facility. The software was diabolically clever, virtually undetectable, and essentially untraceable. In theory. The fact that it was a Zero Day exploit--that is, that the attack would begin before the software problem was discovered and attempts made to fix it or shut it down--and that the Stuxnet code contained not one, but four zero day features, was remarkable. Once it was inside, it worked autonomously; even the attacker could not call it back. The Israelis, apparently, were impatient. They assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists, and they changed the Stuxnet code, and it spread. It ended up infecting computers worldwide, at which point it was no longer secret, people were looking for it, and the Russians and others found it. "Israel blew the malware's cover and it could have led to war," the film says. Another consequence is that the day when something similar can be unleashed on us grows ever closer. It will come from one of three sources: Cybercriminals, in it for the money Activists, intent on making a political point or Nation-states seeking intelligence or opportunities for sabotage. U.S. security agencies are not complacent. While they talk publicly about our cyber-defenses, in fact, there is a large unexamined effort to develop offensive cyber-weapons. There are reports of an even more draconian cyber-weapon embedded throughout Iranian institutions. Warding off its activation is believed a primary reason the Iranians finally struck a nuclear agreement. Certainly it prompted the rapid development surge in Iran's cyberarmy. In putting this story together, writer and director Alex Gibney interviewed former high-ranking U.S. and Israeli security officials, analysts from Symantec who teased the code apart, personnel from Russia's Kaspersky Lab, and many others, including CIA/NSA/DoD officials unable to speak on camera. "Fear Does Not Protect Us" The documentary makes a persuasive case for who holds the smoking Stuxnet gun, but it also suggests that finding fault is not the primary issue. The climate of international secrecy around Stuxnet—and the inevitable clones that will follow—makes an open discussion about them impossible. Nor does it allow development of rational strategies for managing the risks, regardless of how urgently needed those strategies are. Cyber-risk management will never be easy, but as one of the film's experts points out, "it will never happen unless you start." The subject is "hideously overclassified," says Michael Hayden, former director of both the NSA and CIA. The climate of secrecy is so extreme that even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security cyber team was unaware that Stuxnet originated across town and spent countless resources trying to track it down. We, of all nations, need this debate, because there is no more vulnerable country in the world, when it comes to systems' connectedness. "Evil and good live side by side," says an anonymous agent of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. Keeping secrets is a good way to prevent being able to tell one from the other.
A gold standard in documentary films and a very interesting story (by siderite)
Once you go beyond the automatic dislike of computer screen hexadecimals turning into beautiful 3D animations, which is the norm in all popularizing documentaries, you can see not only how interesting the story is and how well the film is done, but how much effort came into the gathering of the information in it.This two hour film describes how Stuxnet changed the world, first from the eyes of malware researchers and how they discovered the worm and how they started to analyze it and realize how advanced it is and what it does, then goes into the political realm, describing how the US and <more>
Israel did this to Iran, then narrows down, showing not only how this was something the US did to prevent the Israelis to do even worse things, but how Stuxnet came back to bite its creators in the ass. In the end we are shown the true reality of a world in which anyone can do horrible damage with no attribution while the security institutions keep everything secret and out of public discussion and decision.A very informative movie, filled with useful tidbits, showing the story of Stuxnet from start to end and to later consequences, interesting to both technical people and laymen alike. Well done!
Useful material to start discussion about "cyber warfare". Unsure it will reach out to politicians and other non-IT people. Will probably shoot over everyone's head (by JvH48)
Saw this at the Berlinale 2016, where it was programmed as part of the official Competition section. I have to start with a full disclaimer, by confessing that information security has been my full time occupation for at least 25 years. As such it was not my intention to learn something new when viewing this documentary about the infamous Stuxnet worm, jointly developed by Israel and US, targeting Iranian reactors and obstructing the production of nuclear material. Yet I'm very interested in each and every vehicle movie, book, newspaper article, whatever to make non-IT people aware of <more>
the issues at hand, if only to provide material for an open debate about the pros and cons of "cyber warfare" with much wider implications than the average layman realizes.As observed with previous movies about IT-related issues WikiLeaks, Snowden, Steve Jobs etcetera it is very difficult to sit it through while being like myself someone who worked in IT all his life. We saw numerous fragments of Assembler, flashing lights from network equipment, heavily populated cable bundles, and many screens showing various sorts of abracadabra, all supposedly intending to look technical for an average layman. Another problem is that several talking heads ducked when asked specific questions about Stuxnet, the latter being the main topic of this movie. Most of them had the usual excuse *Even when I knew about it, I cannot elaborate". Luckily, we heard not once the excuse "I can tell you about it but after that I have to shoot you", usually intended as a humorous escape from hot questions without appearing offensive or overly defiant. Several high ranking officials only wanted to speak out in general terms, thereby avoiding Stuxnet and other concrete projects, by explaining what they found wrong, especially about the secrecy that most found exaggerated and unnecessary. As such, their contributions were still useful, albeit not exactly touching the subject at hand.Nevertheless, I heard a few new things I had not thought about yet. Firstly, Stuxnet was not designed to become so visible as it did. People at the NSA were furious when seeing that Israel extended v1.1 of the software to be more aggressive, making it spread and allowing it to surface, while that never had been the intention. The net result is that other countries may find justification to counter with similar software, now the US has provided for a precedent. Secondly, many people in CIA and NSA express their concerns about over-classification, preventing an open debate on future policies and rules of engagement in cyber space, like similar rules developed in the past for army, navy and air force. Cyber weapons are the fourth category, and it may take 20 to 30 years to create clear rules and policies for it. Lastly, the net effect that Stuxnet had on Iranian nuclear program, has proved to be negligible in the long run. There was a noticeable dip in the production statistics, but it triggered Iran to invest extra in centrifuges. An extra side effect was that Iran invested in cyber powers of their own, by attracting talented people on this field of expertise. As of now, it looks like they succeeded in overpowering the western world in this so-called cyber war. In other words, due to Stuxnet we lost our head start, and it is doubtful we will ever regain that.There was one talking head with distorted voice and face, who appeared many times throughout the story. In hindsight, she was reading collected texts from several people working in NSA, CIA etcetera, all of them having useful insights on the matter but unable to come forward. Being reasonably versed in these issues, I am of the opinion that these texts sound genuine and seem to really come from people with intimate knowledge, which would otherwise be kept from the public. One example is that they internally made fun about "air gapped", the common defense against infections from the outside. They knew several ways to get over this obstacle, e.g. by infecting vendors responsible for installing and updating software in the plant, more or less working like so-called watering hole attacks. Reading these texts as done here, was an artificial but necessary addition to the documentary. In a final scene the one reading the texts revealed herself as an actress who had no personal involvement in the issues, but was effectively used as a vehicle to get this information across. During the press conference organized by the Berlinale it was explained that this was the only way to obtain and release this information, if only to protect the sources since harsh policies have been issued to deal with information leakage.All in all, I'm not sure the message will land where it should land, namely with non-IT people who should know about the implications of "cyber warfare", having an impact on our future that cannot be underestimated. I don't think that a documentary that takes nearly 2 hours, will achieve said goal. Nevertheless, I applaud every honest attempt. The documentary is well made and tries to present a balanced view on the matter. Well made, but probably shooting over everyone's head and defeating its well-intended purposes.
Zero Days is an important documentary devoted much needed attention to the issue of cyberwarfare, focusing on a case study of the Stuxnet attack. It provides a behind the scenes take on the discovery and the development of the virus, as well as the political developments that caused it to spiral out of control.Alex Gibney does a good job of explaining the technical aspects of the computer virus, as well as the political context that spurred the United States and Israel to develop the computer virus. He assembles a good cast of interviewees from various perspectives on the issue. Although <more>
Gibney has a definite viewpoint, he gives both sides of the question a hearing.Although I had previously watched news coverage dealing with Stuxnet, this documentary goes far more in depth, making good use of inside sources within the NSA. In particular, Gibney examines the split that emerged between the United States and Israel over the use of the virus, ultimately culminating in a near disaster. The film provides a disturbing warning of how the American and Israeli governments have potentially opened a Pandora's box.This film is important viewing that should be seen by everyone interested in current events or concerned over the implications of American foreign policy.
"Zero Days" conveys two messages. The broader one, though hardly new, bears repeating and applies as much to advances in medical science as to war. In a hypercompetitive world, it asks, when do we decide not to pursue innovation and hold back for the greater good? Has technology outrun our capacity to control it?