Explosive Cold War Trojan has lessons for Open Source exporters

Discussion in 'ten-forward' started by spy1, Mar 16, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. spy1

    spy1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Posts:
    3,139
    Location:
    Clover, SC
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/36270.html

    (From the article):

    "A reminder of how important these are came last week with a revelation from the Cold War era, contained in a new book by a senior US national security official. Thomas Reed's At The Abyss recounts how the United States exported control software that included a Trojan Horse, and used the software to detonate the Trans-Siberian gas pipeline in 1982. The Trojan ran a test on the pipeline that doubled the usual pressure, causing the explosion."

    I am speechless. Pete
     
  2. Primrose

    Primrose Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2002
    Posts:
    2,743
    Do not be speechless :(..but rather start reading real history and not some guys write up on Reed's book trying to get some mileage off it today.
    ****************************


    INTELLIGENCE The spy who got it right in a big way
    By William Safire
    02/03/2004


    How a mild-mannered economist hastened the Soviet Union's demise.


    WASHINGTON
    Intelligence shortcomings, as we see, have a thousand fathers; secret intelligence triumphs are orphans. Here is the unremarked story of "the Farewell dossier," or how a CIA campaign of computer sabotage resulting in a huge explosion in Siberia - all engineered by a mild-mannered economist named Gus Weiss - helped us win the Cold War.

    Weiss worked down the hall from me in the Nixon administration. In early 1974, he wrote a report on Soviet advances in technology through purchasing and copying that led the beleaguered president - detente notwithstanding - to place restrictions on the export of computers and software to the Soviet Union.

    Seven years later, we learned how the KGB responded. I was writing a series of hard-line columns denouncing the financial backing Germany and Britain were giving Moscow for a major natural gas pipeline from Siberia to Europe. That project would give control of European energy supplies to the communists and generate $8 billion a year to support Soviet computer and satellite research.

    President Francois Mitterrand of France also opposed the gas pipeline. He took President Ronald Reagan aside at a conference in Ottawa on July 19, 1981, to reveal that France had recruited a key KGB officer in Moscow Center.

    Col. Vladimir Vetrov provided what French intelligence called the Farewell dossier. It contained documents from the KGB Technology Directorate showing how the Soviets were systematically stealing - or secretly buying through third parties - the radar, machine tools and semiconductors to keep the Russians nearly competitive with U.S. military-industrial strength through the 1970s. In effect, the United States was in an arms race with itself.
    Reagan passed this along to William J. Casey, his director of central intelligence. Casey called in Weiss, then working with Thomas C. Reed on the staff of the National Security Council. Weiss studied the list of hundreds of Soviet agents and purchasers assigned to this penetration in the United States and Japan and counseled against deporting them.
    Instead, according to Reed - a former Air Force secretary whose fascinating Cold War book, "At the Abyss," will be published by Random House in March - Weiss said: "Why not help the Soviets with their shopping? Now that we know what they want, we can help them get it." The catch: Computer chips would be designed to pass Soviet quality tests and then fail in operation.

    The technology topping the Soviets' wish list was computer control systems to automate the operation of the new trans-Siberian gas pipeline. When we turned down their overt purchase order, the KGB sent a covert agent into a Canadian company to steal the software; tipped off by information in the Farewell dossier, we doctored the pirated software.

    "The pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire," wrote Reed, "to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds. The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space."

    Defense sensors picked up the explosion, but there were no signs that it was a nuclear detonation. That mystified many in the White House, but "Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry. It took him another 20 years to tell me why."

    Farewell stayed secret because the blast in June 1982, estimated at 3 kilotons, took place in the Siberian wilderness, with no casualties known. Nor was the red-faced KGB about to complain publicly about being tricked by bogus technology. But all the software it had stolen for years was suddenly suspect, which stopped or delayed the work of thousands of worried Russian technicians and scientists.

    Vetrov was caught and executed in 1983. A year later, Casey ordered the KGB collection network rolled up, closing the Farewell dossier. Weiss died following a fall a few months ago. Now is a time to remember that sometimes our spooks get it right in a big way.

    INTELLIGENCE The spy who got it right in a big way


    - Adjusted link to narrow thread a bit and removed the image. (LWM)
     
  3. spy1

    spy1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Posts:
    3,139
    Location:
    Clover, SC
    (From your article):

    "Farewell stayed secret because the blast in June 1982, estimated at 3 kilotons, took place in the Siberian wilderness, with no casualties known."

    One could assume that after a 3 kiloton blast(!!!), there might not be any remains left to indicate casualties. :rolleyes:

    Furthermore, there was no way for the U.S to actually determine - beforehand - just exactly where the blast would take place (IOW, it could very well have happened in a populous area).

    It's okay, though - I'm sure the environmental damage should all be healed by, say, the year 2525?

    It's an outright miracle that the Soviet Union didn't regard that as an actual act of war (considering the environmental, monetary and strategic value of what was destroyed) and respond accordingly.

    Of course, it's all good, right? The big bad U.S.S.R eventually fell away - to be replaced by what we've got over there now - splinter republics/countries whose moves are totally un-predictable, and all of whom have remnants of very ill-controlled nuclear and biological weaponry technically belonging to (and supposedly under the control of) the former Soviet Union. Whom, I am quite sure would sell any of those weapons to the highest bidder in a heartbeat (if they haven't done so already).

    Yep. If that was an effort to put some kind of a good spin on what was done, it didn't really work that way, here.

    But - thanks for the additional link! There are people on other sites who didn't even believe this was real (not that I blame them). Pete
     
  4. Primrose

    Primrose Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2002
    Posts:
    2,743
    There are many real things out there Pete..and when someone tries to steal the secrets and technology of a country ..not to mention the econony of the Europeans..they always came running to the US for help. They had too much to $$$ to lose. Same holds true for all those oil contracts they have now.

    Some people steal technology for a living..the only lesson I see here is once again a case against open source.

    Microsoft will tell you about that one.
     
  5. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Posts:
    8,507
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    Ok guys let's just be sure not to get into a political discussion here - we all know the policy. I don't see anything wrong here (yet) but I can easily see this going the wrong way, so I'm gonna lock it for now and see what the admins think.
     
  6. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Posts:
    17,875
    Location:
    New England
    To be honest, I don't think there are too many comments that could be added in replies here that wouldn't go heavily political. So I don't see any reason to leave this open.

    It's here for those who are interested in the topic. There are a couple links above that they can use as a starting place to look into it further.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.