Tonight the film Zero Days premiers at the the Berlin Film Festival and it is already making headlines. As described in the BFF brochures:
The new film by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney explores the phenomenon of Stuxnet, a self-replicating computer virus discovered in 2010 by international IT experts. Evidently commissioned by the US and Israeli governments, this malware was designed to specifically sabotage Iran’s nuclear programme. However, the complex computer worm ended up not only infecting its intended target but also spreading uncontrollably. Although to this day officially denied, Stuxnet was created by two allied forces who were each pursuing their own agendas, and in doing so opened up the Pandora’s box of cyber warfare …
Apparently, the film also reveals that Stuxnet was part of a larger planned cyber attack that would target Iran’s air defenses, communications systems and key parts of its power grid.
From The Verge:
The plan was codenamed Nitro Zeus, and if it had ever been deployed, it would have taken down parts of Iran’s civilian infrastructure, including its power grid, phone lines, and air defenses. The plan cost tens of millions of dollars to design and involved the placement of electronic implants in Iranian computer networks, in case it were ever decided to be implemented.
Herb Lin at Lawfare raises the question
what has become of the electronic implants that were placed to “prepare the battlefield”?
Did we tell Iran where they are? Or how to find them? I’ll bet not. Did the US erase them? That’s more likely. Or did we leave them in place? That’s more likely still.
This week, the film announced it has secured distribution in the U.S. through Magnolia Pictures and Showtime. A preview of the film is available here.
Last year, I interviewed Kim Zetter, author of Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon on Cyber Law and Business Report.