The United States has many contingency plans in place for disarming nations in case of war. However, most of these plans are top secret and highly classified; only speculation can really say what techniques we would use in certain circumstances. Some light has recently been shed on one such plan, however. In the case of possible war with Iran in case the diplomatic actions to limit their nuclear plans failed, the US was prepared to unleash a series of computer attacks designed to disable key parts of Iran’s nuclear warfare facilities, air defenses, power grids, and more. The entire operation was entitled Nitro Zeus, and made use of the Stuxnet worm that was revealed to be a key part of the United States cyber warfare toolbox in 2013.
In a recent New York Times article, this key information has recently been revealed by participants in some of the key aspects of Nitro Zeus. It is set to be fully talked about in the upcoming film Zero Days which is set to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this year.
At the height of the Nitro Zeus program there were literally thousands of military and intelligence personnel involved. It also required extensive addition of electronic implants into Iranian computer networks to ensure that the operation could move forward quickly and decisively.
The reason behind this extensive operation was fear that Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu would strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities and that the United States would get drawn into an all-out nuclear war. This fear was enough to drive the United States to develop a massive plan of action to disable Iran in the event of such an outcome.
United States intelligence created a very focused plan of attack to disable the Iranian nuclear enrichment plant named Fordo that was built deep inside a mountain near the city of Qum. Fordo was considered one of the most difficult targets to attack in Iran, buried so deeply that all but the most powerful weapons could not destabilize it. Hence the creation of a computer worm to attack it from the inside out. The attack was a covert operation that could only be authorized by the president, but could move forward even without the event of an armed conflict event.
The extensive actions of the earlier code-named “Olympic Games” cyber attack launched in 2012 that disabled many elements of the Iranian nuclear arms program were just examples of the plans the United States has in place to disarm a country and prevent all-out nuclear war. It sounds almost like science fiction or a futuristic James Bond movie, but the future is now.
Interestingly there were also techniques to remotely insert malware into computer systems that were not connected to the internet. These systems of technology were discussed in the leaked files from Edward Snowden. It is this technology that was used in Natanz, where code was inserted to disrupt the nuclear centrifuge controls, causing them to spin wildly out of control and destroying themselves.
Overall it’s very interesting technology. It makes one wonder just what each country has planned in terms of international conflict. Do the Russians have similar software targeted at the United States? One can only wonder.