Shoot Down At Dimona

Hmmm, I wonder who this UFO belonged to?

Israeli jet downs flying object near nuclear plant

An Israeli warplane has shot down a “suspicious object” flying over the southern part of the Dead Sea, the military said, adding that the intruder appeared to have been a balloon.

The country’s main nuclear reactor is about 30 kilometres from the Dead Sea, at Dimona in the Negev desert.

“Air force planes were scrambled after a suspicious object was seen,” a military spokeswoman told AFP yesterday. “It was shot down.” She did not elaborate.

Local news site Ynet said one of the planes fired a missile at the object “which was hovering close to the nuclear research institute at Dimona.”

See also:
IAF Intercepted a Suspicious Flying Object
IAF Jet Shoots Down Unknown Object from Jordan
Object shot out of sky above Israeli nuclear plant, military says
Hot air! Drifting to Dimona, balloon prompts IAF scramble
Air Force shoots down balloon near Dimona
Israel shoots down ‘balloon’ near nuclear site
‘Balloon’ is shot down near Israeli reactor site
Israel shoots down object near nuke plant
‘Balloon’ shot down near N-reactor
Israeli warplane shoots down object over Dimona
Fighter jet shoots down balloon in nuclear plant area
Negev Nuclear Research Center

An unmanned, motorized balloon? Apparently, someone wanted a closer look at Dimona than Google Earth provides.

/my guess would be Hezbollah gathering intelligence to range a rocket attack on the reactor but, then again, the IDF hasn’t found the wreckage yet to determine exactly what it was

The World’s Hottest New Vacation Destination

And by hottest, I mean radioactive hot. Forget the suntan lotion, bring a dosimeter.

Kiev Sees Chernobyl as Tourist Hot Spot

Ukraine’s government wants to turn Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, into a tourism hotspot.

Ukraine’s Emergency Situations Ministry said Monday it is working on a plan to open the area around the defunct plant—where a reactor exploded on April 26, 1986, spreading radiation across the then-Soviet states of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia—to visitors starting next month.

The ministry said radiation levels in certain parts of the so-called exclusion zone, which stretches 30 kilometers (19 miles) around the exploded reactor, were now returning to normal levels. Visitors will be able to take in views of the nuclear plant, as well as towns and villages that were abandoned in the disaster’s aftermath.

New official tour operators would have to meet strict criteria to be allowed to operate, said Yulia Yurshova, a spokesperson for the Emergency Situations Ministry, as straying from the route can be dangerous because of the threat of collapsing buildings and varying radiation levels.

“The Chernobyl zone isn’t as scary as the whole world thinks,” said Ms. Yurshova. “We want to work with big tour operators and attract Western tourists, from whom there’s great demand.”

See also:
Chernobyl: now open to tourists
Holiday in Chernobyl: Ukraine to lift restrictions on disaster site
Ukraine plans to open Chernobyl, site of massive nuclear disaster, open to tourists in 2011
Chernobyl to be ‘extreme’ tourism site
Ukraine to open Chernobyl zone to tourists
Tourists invited to holiday in Chernobyl
Chernobyl as tourist attraction
Ukraine’s newest tourist destination: Chernobyl
Chernobyl Accident
Chernobyl disaster

What’s not to like? There’s plenty of abandoned buildings and desolate landscape to see. It’s fun for the whole family, bring the kids! The souvenir shop is to die for.

/it’s bad enough that they’re going to let tourists into the exclusion zone to dose up on radiation, but just think of the poor tour guides that will have to go back in day after day to make a living

Pushing The Cyberwarfare Envelope

A computer worm so sophisticated that it attacks specific targets in specific countries, gee I wonder who would be capable of developing something that advanced?

Stuxnet Compromise at Iranian Nuclear Plant May Be By Design

Iran has confirmed that more than 30,000 PCs have been infected by the Stuxnet worm in that country, including some at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. The nature of the Stuxnet worm and the infiltration of Iranian nuclear facilities has led to speculation about whether the worm was developed by the United States or its allies expressly for that purpose.

The Pentagon response to the implication is the standard cagey reply given for just about anything related to national security or military engagements. Fox News reports that, “Pentagon Spokesman Col. David Lapan said Monday the Department of Defense can “neither confirm nor deny” reports that it launched this attack.”

McAfee AVERT Labs has a thorough analysis of the Stuxnet worm which explains the threat in detail. “Stuxnet is a highly complex virus targeting Siemens’ SCADA software. The threat exploits a previously unpatched vulnerability in Siemens SIMATIC WinCC/STEP 7 (CVE-2010-2772) and four vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, two of which have been patched at this time (CVE-2010-2568, CVE-2010-2729). It also utilizes a rootkit to conceal its presence, as well as 2 different stolen digital certificates.”

Another interesting tidbit from McAfee supporting the speculation that Iran may have been the intended target of Stuxnet is that the initial discovery seemed to be primarily focused in the Middle East.

Speaking on the subject of whether the threat may have been specifically crafted for Iran, Randy Abrams, director of technical education at ESET said, “It appears that it is possible that Stuxnet may have been responsible for problems in Iran’s nuclear program over the past year, however that is speculation and it is unlikely that the Iranian government is going to say if that was the case. It is even possible that it was the case and they don’t know it.”

Abrams added, “It is entirely possible that Stuxnet was created by the United States working alone or in conjunction with allies. The fact that it is possible does not indicate it is true however. There have been a number of recent defections in Iran. It is also possible that this was an internal attack. There is still a legitimate question as to whether or not Iran was actually the target.”

See also:
Stuxnet Update
Iranian power plant infected by Stuxnet, allegedly undamaged
Iran admits Stuxnet worm infected PCs at nuclear reactor
Pentagon Silent on Iranian Nuke Virus
Stuxnet Worm Affects 30,000 Computers in Iran
Stuxnet worm assault on Iranian nuclear facilities’ computers may be Western cyber attack: experts
Computer worm infects Iran’s nuclear station
Stuxnet: Future of warfare? Or just lax security?
Stuxnet – a new age in cyber warfare says Eugene Kaspersky
Has the West declared cyber war on Iran?
Web virus aimed at nuclear work, says Tehran
Report: Stuxnet Worm Attacks Iran, Who is Behind It?
US, Israel behind cyber-attack on Iran?

Well, diplomacy sure as hell isn’t working and no one really wants to launch airstrikes against the Iranian nuclear facilities, especially fraidy cat Obama. So, maybe this is a third option, use the Iranians’ own computers to remotely destroy their nuclear related equipment, perfect, if it actually works. I know I’ve got my fingers crossed. Go U.S. or go Israel or go whoever is responsible for this brilliant plan!

/all your nuclear related computers are belong to us!