When Do We Attack China?

This is a pretty bold threat, seeing as how the United States’ government, infrastructure, corporations, and individuals are being seriously cyberattacked ever second of every day.

Cyber Combat: Act of War

The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.

The Pentagon’s first formal cyber strategy, unclassified portions of which are expected to become public next month, represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country’s military.

In part, the Pentagon intends its plan as a warning to potential adversaries of the consequences of attacking the U.S. in this way. “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” said a military official.

See also:
Pentagon warns that cyber-attacks will be seen as ‘acts of war’
US Pentagon to treat cyber-attacks as ‘acts of war’
‘Cyber attacks are an act of war’: Pentagon to announce new rules of engagement against state sponsored hackers
US could respond to cyber-attack with conventional weapons
U.S. Government Says Cyber Attacks May Be Acts of War
Pentagon: Computer hacking can constitute an act of war
U.S. will treat cyber-attacks as act of war
Get Your Cyber War On
Acts of War in the Computer Age
The cyber arms race
Matt Gurney: U.S. military says a cyber attack means war. But with who?
The Pentagon Is Confused About How to Fight a Cyber War

So, with all the thousands of state sponsored cyberattacks unfolding 24/7/365, who are we going to attack first, China, Russia? There’s plenty of the usual suspects probing the United States’ cyberdefenses constantly, it’s hard to choose just one culprit. And what if we get the source of a cyberattack wrong? The exact origin of most of these exploits is extremely difficult to pin down. What if we mistakenly launch a missile strike on China for hacking damage that was actually caused by the Russian Mafia, how cool would that be? Probably not very cool at all.

/and, of course, when we announce a brinkmanship policy like this, and then immediately fail to back up our words with deeds, it become much more than just a joke, it manifests a profound, telltale show of national weakness

Stuxnet Shoots, It Scores!

Gee, sounds like the pump was continuously running well outside its design parameters while indicating normal operation on its control instrumentation, which is is exactly what Stuxnet was designed to do, run machinery beyond tolerance limits while spoofing the performance display readouts with fake data.

IAEA says Iran’s Bushehr delays were caused by pump

Iran was believed to have told the UN atomic watchdog that a broken pump had made it necessary to remove fuel from its first nuclear power reactor, independent experts familiar with the issue said on Monday.

The experts, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, said it was a potentially serious problem likely to cause more delays for the Russian-built Bushehr plant, which has yet to start injecting power into Iran’s national grid.

“I think what happened is that the pump failed but it didn’t just fail, it broke up, so that … there are pieces of metal that are now circulated throughout the primary cooling system,” one of them said.

See also:
Breakage in Iranian Reactor Forced Fuel Removal: Russia
Iranian reactor stalled by damaged pump
New setback at Iran’s Bushehr plant
Iran blames broken pump for atom fuel removal-experts
Russia says why Iranian nuclear plant was unloaded
In setback, Iran to unload fuel from nuclear plant
Iran Pulls Fuel From Bushehr Plant Just Before Power Project Scheduled to Go Online
Iran removing nuclear fuel from plant
Iran to unload nuclear fuel from Bushehr plant
Bushehr plant fuel delayed
Bushehr reactor to be emptied
Iran: Removal of fuel rods has nothing to do with Stuxnet

Of course it’s just speculation and no one will actually admit that the pump disintegration was cased by Stuxnet. However, a pump like this would normally give some manner of warning to the operators that the pump was malfunctioning, this one didn’t, it continued to run until it “broke up”. Coincidentally, Stuxnet was designed to cause precisely this type of damage, with no warning, to industrial equipment. Believe it or not.

/in any case, with tiny pieces of metal strewn throughout the reactor’s cooling system and possibly contaminating the nuclear fuel rods, this mess is going to take quite some time to clean up and then it just might happen again