Stuxnet: The Digital Hiroshima

Ralph Langner

Head Control System Security Consultant at Siemens

Carey Nachemburg

Chief Architect at Symantec Security

Source Analysis

Ralph Langner is a German computer security expert at Siemens. He identified that Stuxnet was targeting the centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility. He was also the first to theorise that Stuxnet was made by the United States and Israel. He is currently subject to a non-disclosing gag order on the topic of United States and Israeli involvement on Stuxnet. Langner is a primary source, as he had direct access to the code and the damage done. His TED talk was about a year after the discovery of Stuxnet, and he was a neutral party during the time that Stuxnet was active. The TED talk was produced to provide information to the public about the Stuxnet worm, explaining its inner workings, its target and its creator. Although his analysis of the worm, To Kill A Centrifuge, is considered one of the most detailed insights into Stuxnet, his theory about the creators of Stuxnet are purely speculation. Based on his expertise, involvement in uncovering the worm, and widely accepted authority on Stuxnet, Ralph Langner’s TED Talk should be considered a reliable source.

Source Analysis

Carey Nachenberg is a Fellow and Chief Architect at Symantec, the world’s largest security provider. Nachenburg was part of the team that dissected the code of Stuxnet, and monitored Stuxnet’s command and control servers to determine the ground zero for the worm. Nachenberg is a primary source, as he was one of the dissectors of the worm, and the first Symantec expert to observe the effects of the worm. His presentation at the Center for International Security And Cooperation was published about 2 years after Stuxnet was exposed, at a time where the US government believed that would retaliate with traditional attacks on critical infrastructure. He currently serves as an advisor for the United States Cyber Command, but at the time that the CISAC presentation was published, he was still in his role at Symantec. Based on the location and timing of his presentation, it is likely that Nachenburg was attempting to de-escalate tensions between Washington, D.C. and Tehran. However, Nachenburg is considered an expert on computer worms, and his involvement in the analysis of Stuxnet makes him a reliable source.

Eric Chien

Technical Director of Symantec's Security Technology and Response division

Source Analysis

Eric Chien is the Technical Director of Symantec's Security Technology and Response division. He was one of the authors of the official Stuxnet analysis in 2012, and was the person who named the worm. As one of the first people to observe and dissect Stuxnet, Chien is a primary source of information. The interview at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism occurred in 2017, over 5 years after the publication of his analysis. The interview came in light of the release of Zero Days by Alex Gibney, a documentary on Stuxnet, in which he explains the process of discovering and dissecting Stuxnet. As a result of his direct involvement with many aspects of Stuxnet, Chien can be considered a reliable source.