Closed source software -> as economic weapon

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by steve, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. steve

    steve Guest

    Interesting article!

    Closed-source software used as a trojan horse to damage the economy of a
    competing nation........,39020381,39147917,00.htm

    Extract (partial):


    "In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from
    the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipeline software that was
    to run the pumps, turbines, and valves was programmed to go haywire, after
    a decent interval, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce
    pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds," Reed
    wrote. "The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire
    ever seen from space."

    "While there were no physical casualties from the pipeline explosion, there
    was significant damage to the Soviet economy. Its ultimate bankruptcy, not
    a bloody battle or nuclear exchange, is what brought the Cold War to an
    end. In time the Soviets came to understand that they had been stealing
    bogus technology, but now what were they to do? By implication, every cell
    of the Soviet leviathan might be infected. They had no way of knowing which
    equipment was sound, which was bogus. All was suspect, which was the
    intended endgame for the operation."

    steve, Mar 2, 2004
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  2. steve

    Sue Bilstein Guest

    "The faulty software was slipped to the Russians after an agent recruited by
    the French and dubbed "Farewell" provided a shopping list of Soviet
    priorities, which focused on stealing Western technology."

    So the Yanks got wind of a Soviet plan to steal software, and booby-trapped
    the software that they allowed them to steal. Nice one.

    Sue Bilstein, Mar 2, 2004
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  3. steve

    Steven H Guest

    lofl - your a complete and utter joke
    Steven H, Mar 2, 2004
  4. steve

    Mainlander Guest

    Leftist dishonesty knows no bounds. This was the Cold War after all.
    Unless you are like Red Keith an admirer of the Soviet Union, then what
    took place was quite a legimate action in terms of US foreign policy at
    the time.
    Mainlander, Mar 3, 2004
  5. steve

    AD. Guest

    Wasn't the actual source of the explosion traced to the fact that the
    operator increased the pipeline pressure to compensate for a pressure
    drop, not realising that the drop was due to a major leak and just pumped
    more and more gas out the leak.

    Anyway apparently at the time there was no computerised equipment
    installed in Soviet pipelines anyway - that would've been rare in any
    pipeline anywhere at that time.

    This seemed to have been debunked on Slashdot the previous time they ran
    the story.

    AD., Mar 3, 2004
  6. steve

    David Preece Guest

    A fact not lost on the Chinese who now have a state microprocessor, and
    are only prevented from having a state open source operating system by
    the fact that there's nothing wrong with the one that's there already.

    David Preece, Mar 3, 2004
  7. Even if I had the source to any software, I still couldn't tell WTF it
    was doing...

    The fact that some software 'companies' allow the source code to be
    viewed means precisly squat to me.
    T.N.O. -, Mar 3, 2004
  8. steve

    rural Guest

    It was an interesting article. It did highlight one danger in software
    you don't have the source code for.....and can't verify what it is
    really doing.
    rural, Mar 3, 2004
  9. Firstly - you'd have to look through the whole source code to spot this.
    You'd have to employ an expert to do this. I'm sure that they could inject
    their own expert into the process to ignore the bug.

    Secondly - To anyone really interested in what a program is doing, every
    program is open source, whether it is closed source or not.

    Nicholas Sherlock
    Nicholas Sherlock, Mar 3, 2004
  10. steve

    steve Guest

    Nicholas Sherlock wrote:
    True....though looking at dis-assembled code can be somewhat unenlightening.
    steve, Mar 3, 2004
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