Zero Days Review – The Ultimate Cyber Warfare Thriller

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Zero Days, from Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media, presents a documentary of stunning implications as it exposes the discovery of the highly classified Stuxnet computer code designed to destroy nuclear arsenals of enemy nation-states through computer viruses. 

A documentary directed by Alex Gibney, Zero Days features a who’s who of international high level U.S., Russian, German, Israeli Mossad and NSA officials including Colonel Gary D. Brown, Richard A. Clarke, General Michael Hayden, Olli Heinonen, Chris Inglis, Vitaly Kamluk, Eugene Kaspersky, Emad Kiyaei, Ralph Langner, Rolf Moowatt-Larssen, Sean Paul McGurk, Yossi Melman, Gary Samore, David Sanger, Yuval Steinitz, Sergey Ulasen and Major General Amos Yadin along with tech experts Eric Chien and Liam O’Murchu from the anti-virus company Symantec.

Stuxnet is the brainchild of a genius developer who along with other Mossad and high level NSA officials developed a complex computer virus that could, from the comfort of Washington or Israel, destroy the entire centrifuges of the Iranian nuclear capabilities.

Zero Days opens with repeated refusals by political officials from around the world to discuss Stuxnet. Soon after they cut to the tech guys who begin the explanation of the times and seasons.

Iranian, the enemy of Israel, not a friend of the U.S. under the leadership of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had nearly all they needed to build nuclear weapons and had made their position on destroying sworn enemy Israel very clear.

Given the chance they would launch a nuclear attack. Armed with this information, the Israelis, in order to protect themselves from the madness of Ahmadinejad, developed in association with the United States, a computer virus that could be launched and would essentially melt down the machines spreading the virus into the centrifuges and rendering the nuclear program void.

Okay. So back to the discovery.  Cyberwarfare, for the masters of their domains, the protectors of nations and defenders of the cyber universe, is the next frontier.

Stuxnet was discovered in 2011, like Watergate, by accident. Sergey Ulasen, an antivirus expert in Belarus, was responding to tech support from his Iranian customers as their computers were instantly, and without cause, shutting down.

Unable to decipher the cause, he shared the information on tech/nerdiest type bulletin boards hoping to gather some input from the world best anti-virus detectives.

Symantec, the makers of Norton Virus Protection software, monitored the chat boards and Eric Chien and Liam O’Murchu, employees of the Santa Monica company, saw it as a puzzle. A computer code puzzle.

Computer code, for anyone who understand HTML understands coding even on the most basic level has a beginning and an end. The Stuxnet code went on for at least 40 lines. Chien and O’Murchu, were so intrigued they looked for common values within the code and found the word “Stux” and “Next” which is how it was named.

According to the two, Stuxnet was too complex, too perfect and too expansive to be any of the usual hacking categories: the simple hacker in the basement looking for self-gratification at his level of technology capabilities; the hacktivist or cause related hackers, and then criminal hackers who want passwords, bank accounts.

Stuxnet, the two soon realized, by process of elimination belonged to a nation state. Somewhere, a technology program belonging to a government had developed a program that could destroy infrastructures of the world. As Zero Days continues it is revealed Stuxnet was an unknown massive military program titled Olympic Games.

Olympic Games could shut down critical infrastructure grids, compromise of all transportation, ground and air, electrical power grids, massive black outs, manipulated stock markets around the world, banking infrastructures, hospitals, elevators, essentially this program could wipe out and destroy entire nations infrastructure systems, which was the goal. Crippling the Iranian power structure was the motivation.

And in fact as we spoke during the media day to Eric Chien, from Symantec, he explained that scenario had been played out and the only way they got beyond it was when they modernized to computer power grids they left the old manual override system in place and when the lights went out basically they flipped the main power switch and everything came back on.

Simultaneously, Iranian nuclear scientists were being killed in record numbers, terrorism within Iran’s own borders had increased and while it was setting the program back, the centrifuges were so solidly protected so that the program could not be dismantled unless they were destroyed.

Zero Daysreveals the who, what and when of how this malware virus, created pre-2006 including R & D as it was revealed to White House officials, how it came to life, was used and how with the hope of just terminating the entire Iranian Nuclear program in what would be considered a self-made meltdown, which was coded into the virus program through what is known as a Zero Day, the program was exposed.

Essentially, the nation-states, the U.S. and Israel, behind the high classified Stuxnet program were exposed due to an overzealous attempt to create the definitive moment or the pinnacle of destruction from the ultimate computer virus ever developed.

This is not uncommon. For anyone who understands the mind of a developer, and the limitless capabilities and liberty under government sanctioned technology development, will tell you once a program is deemed usable and performs with some level of accuracy program developers, like terror integrators, work to increase the program's capabilities.

For instance a detectable under the skin, RFID implant is modified, as a salivating, glassy eyed, program developer explains the next level, to an undetectable molar implant upping the spy game to a virtual streaming from a 24/7 information relay.

Zero Days details the discovery of the cyber weapon Stuxnet, a self-directed nation state developed malware virus created to destroy Iran's nuclear program through virus spreading cyber warfare. The program was developed by allies Israel and US and Israel upped the capabilities which lead to the discovery of its existence by the anti-bug team at Symantec.

Zero Days is a cyber cat and mouse thriller with stunning revelations and shocking ramifications. Filmmakers take the cameras inside NSA, Mossad, Russian and other allied cyber facilities.

The documentary is complex, staggering, mind-blowing and shocking. Then one realizes all the cloak and dagger clandestine attempts at secrecy by the high level officials could be, in reality, a smoke screen for something probably more sinister.

Zero Days, a real life Top Secret government  program was probably revealed through a joint allied agreement to take the hit on Stuxnet and Olympic Games to cover other more damaging and earlier developed programs which violate every liberty and constitutional rights American have and hold true.

Zero Days is a MUST see and one of the top ten docs of 2016.

Zero Days opens July 8, 2016.

 

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