The Pentagon Is Developing Cyber Weapons That Launch Without Human Intervention

By:  Joe Wolverton, II
06/22/2012
       
The Pentagon Is Developing Cyber Weapons That Launch Without Human Intervention

 Reports indicate that the Department of Defense is creating autonomous cyber weapons, which are being used against foreign entities, such as Iran, but will also in all likelihood be used against Americans.

The United States government is developing a computer system that would allow it to conduct cyber warfare without the intervention of a human programmer.

Recently, stories have leaked detailing the U.S. government’s creation and implementation of two cyber attacks on the information systems of other nations.

"Flame" was the name of a computer virus reportedly developed and launched by the United States in order to glean critical data from computers in several Middle Eastern countries.

According to a story published in the Washington Post, the United States and Israel launched a joint venture to develop the Flame virus. Once launched into cyber space, the code reportedly collected online intelligence data that was then used to create a similar bit of malware that would cripple Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Officials cited in the Post article revealed that the effort was a collaboration of the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, and the Israeli military.

One product of that Israeli-American secret enterprise was the Stuxnet virus. Stuxnet was the virus allegedly deployed by the United States to decelerate Iran’s progress toward the development of a nuclear weapon.

Apparently, Flame and Stuxnet were just the beginning of a more sophisticated and sustained American cyber assault against the Iranian nuclear infrastructure. As one source quoted by the Washington Post reports: “This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,” said one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who added that Flame and Stuxnet were elements of a broader assault that continues today. “Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.”

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