back to article Iran: Our nuke facilities still under attack by US, Israelis 'and MI6'

The Iranian government has warned of yet another cyberattack against its nuclear facilities. Iranian state television reports that the discovery of the assault followed the breakdown on Tuesday of international talks related to Iran's controversial nuclear programme, which Western governments allege is aimed at manufacturing …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WAHH! PAY ATTENTION TO ME

    Quick quiz:

    "WAHHH! The world isn't paying enough attention to me! The US is attacking me! HELP HELP I'm being OPPRESSED!"

    Who said this?

    a) Iran

    b) Julian Assange

    Maybe Julian should have gone to the Iranian embassy - then would could have ignored two (loonie) birds at once!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Umm

      because the US have a spotless history when it comes to attacking other regimes and always have the other's best interests at heart.

      Sure lets just ignore it and go along with everything the 'merkins tell us to. It's been working so well so far hasn't it?

      Well apart from fucking the world economy with their subprime garbage - or arming and financially supporting dictators that then go around blowing up a things in places like NY, London and Madrid...

      all little problems really, they've done a great job otherwise.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Umm

        Didn't realize that my country was the only one doing this.

        While I may give you a majority of arming certain idiots (Russia and China not-withstanding), the whole subprime/banking mess was wholly embraced by other greedy asses across the pond that were also intent upon making a quick and easy lump of money (this stuff really is a pyramid scheme of some sort as only a few can profit off of many without the system collapsing). Your laws have allowed this also. Why do business with these banks in the first place... because it's a hell of a lot easier than taking a world-wide alienating stand and saying 'no'?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Umm

          "Didn't realize that my country was the only one doing this."

          An evil needs someone to start it, and the US have pretty much been cheerleading this, not exactly slowed down by rating agencies that helped to keep up the myth of financial responsibility. Thus, when the US regulatory system didn't interfere, others considered that unfair competition, as in "why should I have to comply with the law when US financial institutions clearly don't" and thus a global problem was born.

          Add the enthusiasm to rapidly convert tax revenue into private equity (in common parlance called "waging war on all and sundry") and I think we can safely say that the US indeed started it all, not exactly slowed down by people on the other side of the pond who were equally keen to rob their nation blind in as fast a pace as they could get away with, the prime cheerleader getting so rich he had to establish a private bank to hold it all. And yet these people get to write memoirs instead of being locked up - they must have been laughing at the expense fiddlers because that was in comparison minute..

          Meanwhile, the lives of ordinary people went to shit. So yes, your nation started it (and is still doing it as far as I can tell - I still see little legal challenge to illegal/invalid robo signed foreclosures), and no amount of badmouthing others can hide that. That others follow you into a store does not remove the guilt from you throwing the stone that broke the shop window in the first place.

          So don't come to me with the "others did it too" argument.

    2. HamsterNet
      Thumb Down

      Re: WAHH! PAY ATTENTION TO ME

      Very very hard to go into the Iranian embassy - its closed and has been for a while

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do I detect

      A hint of paranoia here?

  2. JDX Gold badge

    Hey Iran...

    ...please unplug your nuclear plants from the internet, for your own security and everyone else's safety!

    1. Lee Dowling

      Re: Hey Iran...

      And stop using those components that you have now verified are easily vulnerable to attack (e.g. those particular SCADA controls, Windows desktops, etc.)

      It's a fecking nuclear plant, not a PC in a nursery. If you'd had any sort of IT security in place whatsoever, it wouldn't have happened in the first place. Complaining about a reoccurence is like the guy who says "Well, I didn't take a backup this time because I didn't think I'd lose my data TWICE in a year..."

      That said, the US and Iran could have nothing to do with these things (which they have confirmed would be classed as acts of war if they were to happen on their own systems), but that doesn't mean they didn't do it. Without proof, it's all just posturing and big words, and we know what they normally precede on a Friday night down the pub.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Hey Iran...

        I doubt it's the fault of Windows... you have to assume ANY system CAN be broken if an attacker has to access it. As well as semi-joking about internet access, it should be a fully closed system.

        1. eulampios
          Linux

          Killing thousands of birds with a single stone

          >>I doubt it's the fault of Windows... you have to assume ANY system CAN be broken if an attacker has to access it.

          Why would we have to assume that? Yes, an outdated, poorly maintained system might be broken if there is a physical access to it in a single case.

          To (ab)use the quantifier "ANY" though, you should produce at least one case within 2-10 years when a specially crafted program breaks many systems GNU/Linux or *BSD at once.

          The patent and exclusive copyright on that is all Redmond's!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hey Iran...

        UUUmmmm. Maybe the US needs to take over Iran to clear up their problems with computer security, which poses a threat to the entire world!!!!!!!!!!

      3. h4rm0ny

        Re: Hey Iran...

        "If you'd had any sort of IT security in place whatsoever, it wouldn't have happened in the first place"

        £20 says that Mossad and the US government could penetrate any system you're responsible for...

        1. Lee Dowling

          Re: Hey Iran...

          That's not the same as penetrating a system controlling a nuclear plant. I don't design the systems I'm responsible for to prevent loss of life and nuclear meltdown, or from the invasion of foreign agents. About the worst I design to deal with is an idiotic (but not malicious) user. That's like saying "I can jump the fence into the park, so I could walk into a nuclear power plant". Not quite the same thing. But ask me to put in a design for a nuclear power plant and would it include the Internet or a USB port? Come on! I've had to physically disable USB ports in a school, ffs, let alone a nuclear plant.

          Disconnect from the Internet (why are you even connected to it?), unplug all your USB ports from the motherboard or - better yet - use computers that DO NOT HAVE EITHER CAPABILITY AT ALL (and basic system security means nobody should be able to approach your actual motherboard without a shed-load of alarms going off), problem solved.

          I'm not saying they WOULDN'T get in but being infected this way is like saying that the space shuttle didn't launch because the controller was too busy upgrading his antivirus that popped up. There's failing to be impenetrable to a well-resourced and expert foreign agent with incentive, and there's leaving the doors to the reactor open, unsecured and unmonitored.

          1. Naughtyhorse

            Re: Hey Iran...

            DO NOT HAVE EITHER CAPABILITY AT ALL

            so you propose reprogramming each box via a kbd while standing in front of it?

            (you do know how many of these things are on site? yes? and you know a load of DE types who never make mistakes? yes?)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hey Iran...

          Not to mention that they - MI6 and CIA - both insert themselves into the optics as they leave the country and get around privacy laws by tapping eachothers' traffic.

          End result is:

          CIA - we don't tap our citizens traffic

          MI6 - nor do we

          We just send eachother a copy.

      4. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Hey Iran...

        SCADA

        Not so much a component, more a shorthand way of describing the entire control system (thats what the C stands for) - technically a bloke watching a meter with his hand on a valve is SCADA.

        So what you are saying is they should stop using supervisory (Scada) and control (sCada) systems, and don't do any data acquisition. (scaDA)

        now, for a nuke processing plant, that doesn't sound too safe to me.

        As for security.... well the systems are NOT online - hence using USB as the attack vector. by definition these boxes (and there are 100's of them scattered all over the shop) need to be reprogrammed - making things go bang on the scale they are attempting is not easy, thats why they/we need usb (security is why they/we don't use Ethernet)

        this is going to bite us in the west so hard on the ass in years to come that well feel like a brain tumor is a fucking birthday present, so thanx washington neocon fuckwits for one again making the world a place to be scared of.

      5. Ommerson
        Stop

        Re: Hey Iran...

        Probably also a good idea to have direct manufacturer's support for your SCADA system - a situation that is definitely not going to arise when the the system is bought through a 3rd country (due to sanctions) and components are possibly pirated.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hey Iran...

      A feature of Flame and Stuxnet is they don't need the Internet to spread. They use just about anything.. USB sticks being an oft quoted example.

      http://www.networkworld.com/research/2012/061312-flame-elevates-security-threat-of-260129.html

      1. Boothy Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Hey Iran... @+++ath0

        Any critical system should be locked down and should not have access to USB etc.

        We look after several clients that have very tight security policies. You have to have a laptop built specifically for each client, which means some of us have 2 or more laptops. For one client, you can only use wired networks (all wireless is disabled), the connection is fully Firewalled, and if it doesn't recognise the network your plugged into, it disconnects you. We have specific desks that only work for specific clients. Pluggin in any USB devices, even a mouse, and the security locks the PC, and won't let you un-lock it until the USB device is removed. And there is no Internet access at all. If you want to check your emails, you have to use a different laptop on a different network. Even the SATA bay, where the DVDR would be plugged into, is disabled in the BIOS, (also locked) so pluging in a DVD drive also wouldn't work. (Plus of course the laptops are all encrypted).

        A desktop would be even easier to lock down.

        1. Naughtyhorse
          Facepalm

          Re: Hey Iran... @+++ath0

          But this is a PLC not a fucking computer so all your expertise is worthless - and any one of the security measures you speak of would render the system useless.

          it's not a fucking bank moving zeros and ones round. it's a meat-space control system, that needs to operate around meat-space rules. this requires flexibility.

          As a hairy arsed engineer it's ever so funny when programmer types encounter the real world. They have no fucking idea.

          1. eulampios

            @naughtyhorse

            Just would like to remind you that it was a Windows operating system and a malware utilizing some of its vulnerabilities. A few infections were enough, since it could replicate and infect more machines on the RPC network.

    3. eulampios

      Re: Hey Iran...

      Are you sure it was plugged at all?

      1. Gwyn Evans
        Happy

        Re: Hey Iran...

        Think they've tried turning it off and on again?

  3. RainForestGuppy
    Pint

    Glad to see MI6 involved

    Well who better to make the tea??

    Whoops, I hope I don't end up dead and shoved in a holdall for comments like that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Glad to see MI6 involved

      On the plus side, you'll probably get a last cuppa.

  4. eulampios

    "Windows 7 was my idea"

    First time I approve of someone using Windows.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "Windows 7 was my idea"

      You're keen on a nuclear accident?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: "Windows 7 was my idea"

        "You're keen on a nuclear accident?" The attack was designed to destabilise the centrifuges being used for Uranium enrichment, not cause a nuke meltdown in the reactors. Try reading instead of being spoonfed.

  5. BoldMan

    Operation Olymic Games

    I would expect so see some cease and desist letters from the Locog and IOC lawyers to Israel and the US for using this copyrighted and trademarked name for the 4 yearly corporate sponsorship jamboree which has a couple of sporting things attached to it...

    1. Rob
      Coat

      Re: Operation Olymic Games

      lol do you honestly think Locog is that organised.

    2. David Neil
      Trollface

      Re: Operation Olymic Games

      They'll be fine as long as they don't put a poster in the window

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Act of war?

    Wasn't it the US that made it clear that state sponsored "cyber attacks" count as an act of war, and can be met with physical retaliation?

    1. eulampios

      Re: Act of war?

      Yes, it's called double standards. Nevertheless, I'd much better enjoy thousands of Windows machines being compromised and U enrichment got screwed up than thousands (or more) of lives being lost.

      1. eulampios

        Downvoting and approving of bloodshed ?

        Did not realize bloodshed is so popular among Elreg readers! Or is it just vindicating MS fanboys?

    2. Painless
      Mushroom

      Re: Act of war?

      Last I checked, storming your embassy, taking your diplomatic employees hostage, and killing both diplomatic employees (who have diplomatic immunity) and US Marines was an act of war.

      Pretty sure peace was never declared......so they're pretty much an open target!

      1. Mr. Great Sage

        Re: Act of war?

        Don't forget their efforts in Iraq and Afgan.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Act of war?

      Actually the pentagon said that it would consider a cyber-attack -that threatens mass civilian casualties- as an act of war.

      1. eulampios

        Re: Act of war?

        I likewise enjoy it, when 5-gon learns its while stupidly using M$ insecure systems.

  7. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Brilliant move by the Iranians

    keep some computers attached to the internet that the ameraelis will attack with stuxnet et al.

    Copy, change IP addresses, attach to picture of Bin Laden being shot, release in US say goodbye to internet.

  8. 1Rafayal
    Pint

    What Iran needs is some of those science girls from here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/22/women_in_science_eu_campaign/

    That way, the Internets will be concentrating on them instead of trying to bring down a rogue states nuclear war wagon.

    Or, they could invent the Iranian equivalent of Chuck Norris. That statement needs no further explanation.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Are they, or aren't they?

    As much as I'm not a massive fan of the way Iran is run (probably because I don't understand the culture), the question really is, does their nuclear programme include 'weapons of mass destruction' or not?

    The reality is, whilst Iran seems abhorrent to someone who has grown up with ... choosing my words carefully here ... the relative 'freedoms' of the west, are their methodologies not just a different way of running society?

    Take a look at the wikipedia entry for Iran - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran

    You'd be hard pressed to see it as a particularly oppressive society, except when looking at it with Western bias.

    If you look at it from a historical perspective, it reads a damn side cleaner than Western Europe or the USA in terms of morals and actions. The very heart of civilisation lies in it's history, as clear as day.

    See, this is where I get somewhat confused. Whilst we are offered the promise of democracy, are taught that we are progressive, civilised and humanitarian, the reality just doesn't add up in any shape nor form.

    Iran is being painted as an enemy - it's really as simple as that.

    It's the next target for Western 'democracies', the next to be demonised and probably the next to be invaded.

    Not so very long ago - 500 hundred years? - the area was a hotbed of civilised progressiveness. The powers that are now the 'Western world' were barbaric by comparison.

    We have to tread carefully here, both in our comparison of Iran with ourselves and in how we deal with them as a global player.

    The UK, the USA and much of Western Europe have a *great* deal of blood on their hands. You *cannot* dispute that fact, unless your a moron (alas, many people are)

    We really have to look internally at ourselves before judging. We have to look deeply at our so called freedoms, at the actions of our governments and the results of that (global recession) before pointing any fingers at a regime that we would call oppressive.

    Iranians, by all accounts, are a highly educated, civilised nation. They have different beliefs and a very different culture to our own.

    Watch our leaders closely, folks, there's clearly an agenda here which just doesn't add up in terms of morals, human rights and fairness.

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Are they, or aren't they?

      Well, there's this:

      http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2012/06/iran-1988

      Make of it what you will.

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Are they, or aren't they?

      "....If you look at it from a historical perspective...." Nice cheerleader routine! Except for the simple fact that the Shia fundamentalism that drives Iran today is an imported theology from what we now call Saudi Arabia, derived from early Islam. It has absolutlely nothing to do with historic Persia.

      "....Not so very long ago - 500 hundred years? - the area was a hotbed of civilised progressiveness....." Built on the back of ancient Persian, Greek and Roman teachings and education, all dolled up since by revisionists as some great Islamic science project. The Turkish Ottoman Empire that came to power over the area was largely dependent on Jewish civil servants because the "culture" of Islam was making the locals too ill-educated. Modern day Iran is also good at bragging about how it "develops" technologies when all it is doing is reverse engineering sixties and seventies Russian and American tech. Even their much hyped nuke program was built on Chinese, Russian and Pakistani efforts.

      I suggest you do a lot more reading rather than relying on Wikipedia.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Are they, or aren't they?

      "...unless your a moron..." —Classic!

      [Pity. I was quite in agreement with you, otherwise]

  10. Richard Cartledge

    As the Zionists motto says: בתחבולות תעשה לך מלחמה

    "By Way Of Deception, Thou Shalt Do War."

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Richard Cartledge

      ".....Thou Shalt Do War." I'm guessing that you're another one of those blinkered idealists that fails to note that, every time the UN gets too interested in Iran, Hamas or Hezbullah start shooting rockets at Israeli civillians. Nothing distracts you lot more than when Israel hits back.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Operation Olympic Games?

    Somebody in London must be involved!!

    So if the intelligence community decides they need to spy on the homosexual community, they are going to call it "Gay Olympics"?

  12. John A Blackley

    Pretty sure

    I'm pretty sure that British intelligence was not involved.

    Had it been, the original delivery date for the virus would have to have been 1996 for it to arrive this year. Also, it would have been put onto a CD and lost en route and the second copy would have been delivered, by hand, by an employee of an IT contractor who would then have asked the Iranians for a job - rather than go back to London to be made redundant.

    On top of all that, the virus itself wouldn't have done any damage.

  13. John Deeb
    Boffin

    expert opinions

    Interesting how "expert opinions" voiced in this topic all based their judgments on very cursory reports from newspapers. In fact there's not that much to go on.

    Control systems for centrifuges were purchased from Siemens including Windows based terminals. It's not some "choice" made by Iranian security to have it that way. Did Siemens do its job when delivering the default configuration?

    The USB stick infection and other reported attacks appear to have involved a high degree of social engineering, which would mean from the inside out (not just Iran but think also suppliers). This goes way beyond "partitioning networks" and such rather naive security.

    The reason this is often suggested to be a state-sponsored attack is the level of access to various people or devices needed to even get it going. There are enough reports suggesting how it could have been so successful: it was a "controlled" infection. Good luck protecting your gear against such effort!

  14. All names Taken

    Ahh!

    McAfee - an intel company?

  15. Cyberian
    Trollface

    Newsflash

    In an unprecedented move in order to quash all accusations of being two-faced, double standards regimes, USA and Israel have agreed to extradite all state-sponsored hackers of the utility suite Stuxnet to Iran to face trial for international cyber-terrorism.

    If convicted, the "developers" face stoning to death.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This *IS* terrorism, right?

    OK. We have one government knowingly and deliberately using malware to sabotage another nation's nuclear industry.

    That is most certainly terrorism by anyone's definition, right? (It's also almost certainly an act of war).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This *IS* terrorism, right? - No, it is not.

      sigh. no, this is not terrorism.

      Terrorism is more closely related to attrocities caused by unlawful combatants. An unlawful combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent is a civilian who directly engages in armed conflict in violation of the laws of war, as declared in the Geneva Convention.

      As soon as you said "one government knowingly and deliberately... sabotage another nation's..." - it throws terrorism out the window.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This *IS* terrorism, right? - No, it is not.

        So you say that nations cannot commit terrorism. That's your point of view, but why would you expect everyone else to accept it? Especially when the vast majority of terrorist acts are, and always have been, carried out by national (or imperial) governments.

        Is it just a coincidence that the US government also excludes states from its definition of terrorism? Are you a spokesman for the US government? Oh wait a moment, I can't tell - because you're an Anonymous Coward.

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    To me, Iran (while not exactly a delightful regime) is looking better and better compared to its protagonists. The US says Iran is planning on making nuclear weapons. Iran says it isn't. Considering past history, right up to the present day, can anyone give me a *rational* explanation as to why I should accept the US statement as fact?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Will Godfrey

      ".....can anyone give me a *rational* explanation as to why I should accept the US statement as fact?" How about because even the UN inspectors' reports say Iran has been playing with bomb-making technology?

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Will Godfrey

        O really?

        The report I read pointed to the refinement of uranium that COULD be used in bomb making, however some forgetful official failed to include the bit about the fact that the same refinement WAS used in power generators. Intent is always the real issue, and intent is extremely difficult to prove.

        I knew a farmer who kept large quantities of chlorate weed killer, he also had substantial amounts of ammonia for cleaning/disinfecting and having to do a lot of repairs himself had plenty of wire wool. His wife kept iodine for treatment of his frequent cuts and scrapes, she also had quantities of flour and sugar for baking etc. along with a few battery operated household aids.

        Without going into details, between them they had the materials to make percussion caps, a moderately powerful general explosive, poison gas and incendary devices.

        Fail, indeed.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Will Godfrey

          Please, call a friend and see if they can lend you a clue. Comparing percussion caps to a nuke weapon is beyond desperate.

          "The report I read pointed to the refinement of uranium that COULD be used in bomb making...." The Iranians have absolutely no legit use for Uranium enriched beyond the low levels they require for nuke power reactors. And forget the rubbish about needing it for their "medical research" as that is already overstocked with material supplied by the Russians.

          Then please also explain why a peaceful reactor would need advanced warhead design work, as reported by the Guardian (that well-known organ of the Right - NOT!) and the IAEA:

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/07/iran-working-on-advanced-nuclear-warhead

          Yes, you really are an epic example of fail, or maybe that is an epic example of your parents' failure.

  18. ici.chacal
    Black Helicopters

    Damn lies...

    Both sides declare contradicting arguments. One of them must be lying. It's probably Iran, but then can you blame them..? If they have any sense whatsoever, they will be working their arses off to try and put together a nuke as fast as they possibly can, before America decide to do to them what they have already done to their neighbours...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nuke?

    Well, if America built one in 1945 with essentially vacuum tube technology then you'd expect Iran to have built one by now.

    Don't forget that since then most of the research has been into how to make the KABOOM larger for a smaller physical package so it can fit more megatonnage onto a missile of given size.

    I did speculate if beryllium coating the subcritical plutonium sphere then immersing it in mercury with the explosive lenses on the outside would make for a smaller warhead.

    The idea being that the inertia present in the liquid metal acts as an initial tamper for the explosive lenses due to mercury being incompressible allowing supercriticality to be achieved before the assembly blows itself apart.

    Another interesting modification, implosion would potentially work for uranium but using multiple initiators instead of one.

    One inside the sphere tuned to trigger at the specific point in the implosion cycle and several embedded in the surface so the two criticality waves form as density reaches a maximum.

    This would get around the predetonation problem.

    AC/DC

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nuke?

      "I did speculate if beryllium coating the subcritical plutonium sphere then immersing it in mercury with the explosive lenses on the outside would make for a smaller warhead."

      How would you deal with the asymmetric distribution of your tamper (due to inertial deltas cause by a combination of manufacturing defects and acceleration of warhead to target) as related to requisite uniformity of compression wave? Modified lens structure? Wouldn’t that require essentially an impossible amount of realtime calculation and an adjustable lens system?

      Nothing you build could possibly provide a complete seal on a mercury tamper. That means that the mercury would have some room to flow around; more on one side than the other of your device. Worse; depending on the exact structure, there may be enough play that minor variations in inertia (say from wind or passage through differently dense atmospheric layers) could cause the mercury to shift around.

      So wouldn’t you then require a variable geometry lens system, the trappings of which would probably negate any benefit you had from moving to a mercury system in the first place? I am assuming in your design you’re talking about a standard beryllium pusher system with the mercury to provide that added little bit of focus…but I still think you have a reasonable chance of asymmetric explosion.

      For that matter why bother with the mercury? Beryllium is perfectly capable of working as a tamper/pusher without any additional material.

      If you wanted to take a go at revolutionising weapons design, you might look instead at electronic warheads. The reliance on explosives is unbelievably primitive. We have how many years of research into various kinds of fusion? Give how far we’ve come since the cold war, give me one good reason why we can’t simply build a magnetrointerial confinement fusion system that could trigger the happy-fun nuclear boom times without requiring all this complicated lensing.

      We don’t need a fusion reactor here; we just need a superconducting-magnet based restriction field and some high-powered lasers to compress the target material to the point of initiating the fusion reaction.

      Unlike in a real reactor, we don’t care if the laser overheat and die after the initial pulse. We don’t care if the reaction runs away and explodes. (We want that; it’s a bomb.) So we need…what? Power for the laser capacitors, a bitchin’ capacitor bank, a bunch of bitchin’ solid state lasers, liquid helium for our magnets, some power for the magnets…fissile material.

      This would be huge today…but if we worked on minaturisation? Then your bomb is pretty much as big as the magnetic field you can sustain. I’d bet with only 10 years development you could mount a nuke on a Falcon Heavy capable of putting a significant chunk of Iceland below sea level.

      Two added bonuses: first, you can ensure that this is a “not ready to launch” weapon by simply not filling it with relevant liquid gasses. Auto-safe until launch. Second: it may be possible to refine the design to fuse purely non-radioactive isotopes, thus creating a fusion bomb that essentially doesn’t have to be handled with radioactive precautions by ground crews.

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Nuke?

      The largest problem facing the Iranians is making a nuke device small enough to fit on one of their current crop of missiles yet still deliver a serious enough blast. They then have to mass-produce it because just one wouldn't be enough, it could be taken out by a first-strike, conventional or otherwise. So Iran needs to make lost of highly-enriched Uranium (which explains why it is working on higher-enriched Uranium which it has NO USE FOR OTHERWISE).

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Nuke?

      "......if America built one in 1945 with essentially vacuum tube technology...." Fat Boy was actually developed with sliderule technology. But it was also little more than a big sphere with a parachute, and it required the US's biggest bomber to fly it out to drop over target. No Iranian bomber can transport a Fat Boy type bomb, it would have to use a transporter, and it wouldn't survive five minutes outside Iranian airspace.

      The Iranian's problem is making a device small enough and sturdy enough it can be stuck on the nose of an ICBM or cruise missile (which requires the device to be very small and relatively light). Their best missile in either class are toys compared to current Western, Russian or even Chinese efforts, which is why they need time to develop lots of highly-enriched Uranium and the warheads technology, hence their delaying tactics of the endless talks with the UN.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Iran's nukes are still under cyber attack...

    ...that would be a VERY good thing.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stuxnet spread

    Sorry for being late to the party and or dense but are we really expected to believe that Stuxnet spread around the world before eventually getting into the Iranian nuke plants or is this just a cover story to hide the fact that the US has agents in said plants who infected the machines directly?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whodunit

    Subversive actions detected 6 years later : LOL's ,.

    So what happened to the unmanned planes that went into that building ,and that second trip to the moon?,and those WMD's ?,and that bug free MS Windows platform? ,and Santa Claus ?.

    The best spy wins ,like the enigma machine ,cracked or subterfuged ?.

    Subterfuged ,speelcheck fail :)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This would be the perfect situation...

    ...to use the HD or CPU over-heating technique to fry all of their PCs.

  24. davidster

    Why can't Iran have nukes?

    I don't understand why Iran shouldn't have nukes but "Israel" can; I trust Iran with an atomic bomb a hell of a lot more than those "Israelis" because unlike "Israel", Iran has not declared war on any other country since the end of the Persian Empire and these allegations that they're an unstable regime are complete falsifications. The US has always been hostile towards Iran because they're upset that the Islamic Republic refuses to sell oil at their prices and even funded Hussein to go and invade Iran.

    Obviously, I'm not advocating Iran to have nuclear weapons but if they can't then neither should the Zionists occupying Palestine!

    Stop all these double standards in US foreign policy.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Why can't Iran have nukes?

      Ooh, where to start? It's such a smorgasbord of ostrich-like-head-positioning as to beggar belief, must be a troll.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    A rock and a hard place

    You're living on a quiet street, minding your own business.

    Periodically a big fat bully comes across from the other side of town and smashes up one of your neighbours' houses.

    After this as happened to a few of your neighbours, you decide to invest in a guard dog to protect your property.

    Big fat bully accuses you of threatening his safety by keeping a dangerous dog and demands you get rid of it, or he'll smash your house up.

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