Another solid documentary in New America’s big issue series anticipated general release on Friday (Jul 8) by two days, and next day discussion on NPR’s Leonard Lopate show and PBS Newshour with director Alex Gibney of this absorbing work, Zero Days, who talked on a panel after the showing about the questions raised with two authors of recent books, as below, after his gripping film story told how he indirectly penetrated the high wall of secrecy the White House has erected around Stuxnet, the successful effort by the US (in an operation called Olympic Games) in partnership with Israel to develop software to secretly penetrate Iran’s radium enrichment centrifuges and make them spin too fast and wobble out of control and break into smithereens, a feat accomplished surreptitiously in 2010 and which at first convinced the Iranians that their scientists were incompetent, until the Israelis broke ranks and developed a much more aggressive form of Stuxnet which escaped to infect hundreds of computers around the world and thus was detected by Kasperksy in Russia and Symantec in the US and has thus led to a new arms race where Stuxnet iterations in the most technically advanced nations are ready to bring down the power grid and the Internet and Internet controlled machines from cars to computers to factories in the US and across the world unless secrecy is relaxed enough to enable international discussions to avoid this otherwise inevitable catastrophe, in yet another example of how advances in weapons technology open a Pandora’s box of unforeseen demons, which politicians are too clumsy to control, as shown already by Iran’s wiping out of data on Aramco’s PCs and hacking of US banks, as a warning to keep off their territory, and Russia’s hacking of Ukraine electrical infrastructure during their recent support of breakaway regions in that state, all of which add up to a sobering warning that unless secrecy is broken through and serious discussion starts on the international level anyone who doesn’t lay up a substantial stock of emergency food and water to cover contingencies in the near future is ill equipped to survive what may well be huge interruptions in economic output here and abroad, not to mention learning how to use a pen, paper and typewriter, just as the Navy is teaching all its sailors how to use a sextant. Relevant articles include http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/06/the-hack-that-could-take-down-nyc.html
The days of tanks and high-powered munitions as the primary weapons of war are quickly fading into the past. What has the potential to quickly overtake them is a form of cyber warfare that now lays dormant on countless computers worldwide, with the power to attack national infrastructure before war is ever declared. Far beyond hacking or spying, this sophisticated malware, a computer virus known as Stuxnet, is unregulated, veiled in secrecy, and, without public discourse, changing the nature of warfare.
According to Zero Days, a new film by Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney, Stuxnet is only the first of many more computer viruses capable of destroying critical systems – electrical grids, nuclear power plants, telecom, traffic, and water treatment facilities – and flipping the switch on the next global war. In a world where the conventional “rules of war” are thrown to the side, are secretive cyberweapons the new standard in national security?
Join New America’s Cybersecurity Initiative for a screening of Zero Days and a conversation with the filmmaker and leading national security experts on the digital future of war, national security, and the democratic process.
Alex Gibney @alexgibneyfilm
Writer and Director, Zero Days
Ian Wallace @pianwallace
Senior Fellow and Co-director, Cybersecurity Initiative, New America
Clinical Assistant Professor of Global Affairs and Faculty Member, Initiative for the Study of Emerging Threats, New York University
Fred Kaplan @fmkaplan
War Stories Columnist, Slate
Author, Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War
Karen Greenberg @KarenGreenberg3
Director, Center on National Security, Fordham School of Law
Author, Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State
Zero Days: A Social Cinema Screening
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM EST
156 Fifth Avenue, Second Floor
New York, NY 10010