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Nuclear Warhead Blueprints On Smugglers' Computers 637

Posted by timothy
from the that's-worrisome dept.
imrehg links to a story at the Guardian which begins "Blueprints for a sophisticated and compact nuclear warhead have been found in the computers of the world's most notorious nuclear-smuggling racket, according to a leading US researcher. The digital designs, found in heavily encrypted computer files in Switzerland, are believed to be in the possession of the US authorities and of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, but investigators fear they could have been extensively copied and sold to 'rogue' states via the nuclear black market." Reader this great guy links to the New York Times article on the discovery, and asks "Given that Khan's revelations were made in early 2004, does that mean it took the IAEA 1-2 years to brute-force the encryption?"
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Nuclear Warhead Blueprints On Smugglers' Computers

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  • Garage Nukes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:27AM (#23806795) Homepage Journal
    Let's face it, the Nuclear Cat is slowly crawling out of the bag and will no longer be containable soon. We need to develop better nuke-detection and interception technology or we will be doomed by rogue garage nukes and missiles.
               
    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:36AM (#23806853) Homepage Journal
      We need better protection against theoretically impossible threats - like backpack nukes.
      • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:4, Informative)

        by Cyberax (705495) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:21AM (#23807127)
        • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Ours (596171) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:11AM (#23807365)
          What the article doesn't say it that thing weights 70 kilos more or less. You won't pass for a tourist carrying one of these with a "buddy" helping you carry it.
          • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Cyberax (705495) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:22AM (#23807407)
            70kg is a reasonable weight for your baggage. Too much for airplanes (where it also needs to be weighted and so on), but not a problem if you move by train or car.

            You can also move it in a diplomatic baggage if you are acting as an official of a 'rogue state'.
            • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

              by jacquesm (154384) <j&ww,com> on Monday June 16, 2008 @05:07AM (#23807613) Homepage
              All it takes is a buddy in the luggage handling section.

              Airports are so leaky it isn't even funny, all the window dressing with 'passenger screening' up front is just to reassure you, it doesn't make you any more safe.

              Think about it, multiple millions of tons of stuff moves in / out a major airport every day, there is just simply no way to manually inspect each and every bit. Added to that the fact that usually there is major construction going on because of expansion and remodeling, which causes security measures to be changed all the time.

              And 70 Kg in your hand luggage may seem like a lot, but on a baggage trolley it's very little and once you're in the airport you could do a serious amount of damage blowing it to bits right there and then. The combination of suicide attacks coupled with small nukes would be pretty effective.
              • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Shakrai (717556) * on Monday June 16, 2008 @07:21AM (#23808347) Journal

                All it takes is a buddy in the luggage handling section.

                Airports are so leaky it isn't even funny

                This is frighteningly accurate. Quick story:

                Coming back from Florence about a year ago. Post 9/11 world. American Airlines loses my luggage. Takes four weeks for them to locate it. They claim to have finally found it and say it will be on a flight heading into the local airport the next day.

                I head up to the airport to see if they actually found it. A buddy of mine works as an operations manager at the local airport. Of course my luggage doesn't show up -- but he takes me on a behind the scenes tour of the airport while we wait. We walk right past the TSA guys (one of whom is sleeping -- it's a small regional airport and there were no arrivals or departures going on at this time), right through the metal detector -- setting it off in the process -- yet none of them stopped us or even looked up! They've never seen me before and have only the word of my friend that I have no ill intentions.

                So you can walk right out onto the tarmac with the planes if you happen to know the right person -- no security/background check required -- but you can't bring more than 3oz of breast milk onto your flight. Does anybody else see how stupid that is?

                • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by capnkr (1153623) on Monday June 16, 2008 @09:02AM (#23809247)
                  Well, look at it this way:

                  1) It's a small airport, people know each other, and it's easier to see something or someone that would be unusual. Had you *not* been with your friend, much trouble would have ensued when you set off that alarm, heading out onto the tarmac.
                  2) You are in the presence of the operations manager. He's told *someone* who you are, and why you are there. Perhaps that has been checked out, or they were already aware of it. (Your words:"...have only the word of my friend that I have no ill intentions." imply he has told someone who you are...)
                  3) You didn't see them look up when you went thru the detector, but I'd wager they'd looked already, saw him, and that's why they exhibited no reaction *that you could detect* to an alarm going off.
                  4) You aren't carrying any baggage or other object which could be used to hide/carry explosives/weapons. You probably aren't going to destroy an entire airliner and/or kill everyone aboard it with your bare hands (after all, they can see that you aren't Chuck Norris or Bruce Schneier ;) ).

                  I don't think that this compares to you boarding a flight at a major airport along with several hundred other souls, the same as any anonymous stranger. It does show a lack of probable "proper procedure" and likely lax attitudes at your local airport, but what does (fill in name of terrorist organization here) care about blowing up a little airport? They would get some headlines, but for the effort, a better target would be selected, one which would likely further their objectives.

                  Also, were I one of their planners, I would leave the 'little' airports alone. That helps ensure an easier-going mindset out 'in the sticks', which could be helpful when moving terror agents around...

                  The breast milk type stuff is stupid enough on it's own, and largely the "security" measures that are all-too rampant in this country the past few years are for show IMO, but I don't think that this story you relate is highly illustrative of that, necessarily.

                  Just saying... :)
                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by Shakrai (717556) *

                    ou didn't see them look up when you went thru the detector, but I'd wager they'd looked already, saw him, and that's why they exhibited no reaction *that you could detect* to an alarm going off.

                    I'd be surprised if they bothered. Like I said, one of them was sleeping. The other two were reading. Granted, it's probably a pretty boring job at a small airport with no ongoing arrivals or departures, but sleeping on duty? I'd be fired for that and my job is a lot less critical than a TSA screener.

                    and likely lax attitudes at your local airport, but what does (fill in name of terrorist organization here) care about blowing up a little airport?

                    I don't think they care about blowing it up but I could point out that some of the 9/11 hijackers gained access to the air transport system from a small regional airport (Portland, Maine as I recall)

                • by dgm3574 (153548) on Monday June 16, 2008 @10:34AM (#23810491) Homepage
                  "you can't bring more than 3oz of breast milk onto your flight."

                  You can bring as much as you like, as long as it's in the original container.
    • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by El Jynx (548908) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:37AM (#23806861)
      Sjuh... there's only one option: contain it at the source(s). Very strict contol of enrichment. That's about all one can do, and unfortunately doesn't control already distributed materials nor as yet untouched ore sources - which may become in trek if the world does get strict on ores. But methinks the only real solution is nuclear fusion. Make sure there's enough power for everyone's needs, and then some; that way we can try to kick the planet into a Golden Age and maybe the shortsighted suicidal monkeys will give it a rest and get back to masturbation instead of terrorism. God knows I'd sponsor 'em with a blowup doll or something.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189)
        Golden age... equal people having more kids... equal end of golden age with an even larger die off.

        Fundamental problem.. the problem underneath almost every problem is that the world population is already probably double what it should be.

        We are pretty much doomed so just enjoy the ride until the end.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sqrt(2) (786011)
          I've said it before that nearly all socio-economic and geo-political problems can be either solved or greatly reduced by a drastic reduction of Earth's population. 1b or less humans would be ideal. Unfortunately that's impossible to accomplish without genocide or some massive abridgment of human rights, neither of which I would like to see. People aren't going to slow their reproductive habits voluntarily. Instead of sustainable low numbers that we can support comfortably the human population will expand un
          • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:4, Insightful)

            by mwlewis (794711) on Monday June 16, 2008 @06:58AM (#23808189)

            People aren't going to slow their reproductive habits voluntarily.
            Except for all of the places where it's already happened, right? Like Japan, most of Europe...
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by stewbacca (1033764)
              Isn't there an inverse correlation between intellect and how many broodlings one spits out? If that is true, then the solution to overpopulation is education. Unfortunately, it seems there are far more uneducated people in the world having 6-7 kids, which statistically negates my two children.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Fat Cow (13247)
                It's not intellect, it's prosperity. And those 6-7 kids are more prosperous than their parents were and will almost certainly have much fewer children as well.
          • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Planar (126167) on Monday June 16, 2008 @08:00AM (#23808621)

            1b or less humans would be ideal. Unfortunately that's impossible to accomplish without genocide or some massive abridgment of human rights, neither of which I would like to see. People aren't going to slow their reproductive habits voluntarily.
            It's even worse than you think, because our capitalist economy is no more than a giant pyramidal scheme based on the growth of the population. If people somehow manage to slow down their reproductive habits, we'll get an economic collapse that will make 1929 look like a golden age.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Jasin Natael (14968)

              If people somehow manage to slow down their reproductive habits, we'll get an economic collapse that will make 1929 look like a golden age.

              Watch Japan. T Minus ~5-10 years and counting. The only way to grow the working population when the birth rate is low and declining, is to extend the useful, healthy, mentally-able life of productive elders. Efforts are underway, so we'll see if technology can overtake the problem.

          • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:4, Informative)

            by kocsonya (141716) on Monday June 16, 2008 @08:40AM (#23808937)
            If you check net birthrates, the better socio-economic places have the least population increases. In fact, in 2007 most of Europe and Russia had *negative* effective birth rates (i.e. population decrease), Canada almost neutral, the US had slight positive, so had China. High positive net birthrates can be seen to a lesser degree in India and Mongolia and to a very high degree in Africa and the Middle East.

            So maybe instead of disease, famine and war we could stabilise world population by actually rising the quality of life of those much less fortunate (e.g. by eliminating famine, diseases and war...). Of course, killing them en masse is also a solution and it is also much more profitable, especially if we can cleverly organise that they kill each other while paying us from both sides for the weaponry to do it efficiently. Alas, since they are usually quite poor, they can't really afford the best stuff, so often they have to (literally) hack throgh each other, but at least we can make shocking documentaries with nice washing powder (guaranteed to make your socks 7.3% more pleasant!) advertisement revenues.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ZombieWomble (893157)

          Golden age... equal people having more kids... equal end of golden age with an even larger die off.

          You make this statement quite confidently, but have you any evidence that it is the case? Looking at birth rate statistics, there's a pretty clear negative correlation between quality of life and birth rate in a given country. There would probably be a single generation or so rise in growth rate as birth rates take some time to equalise to the new longer life expectancies and better quality of life, but the world's population running away if quality of life improves globally does not seem like a forgone co

        • by nadaou (535365) on Monday June 16, 2008 @06:01AM (#23807857) Homepage
          we're doomed! Doomed! DOOMED! Doooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooomed!
      • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:03AM (#23807021) Homepage Journal
        See, that's insightful. If we take away our enemies' incentive to fight us, we will be safer. I'm glad you actually got modded up for saying it, rather than modded to -1 and buried under "boohooo you're letting the terrorists win" replies. That's not what it's about. It's not about giving in to our enemies, it's about preventing people from becoming our enemies in the first place.
        • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:31AM (#23807189)

          See, that's insightful. If we take away our enemies' incentive to fight us, we will be safer. I'm glad you actually got modded up for saying it, rather than modded to -1 and buried under "boohooo you're letting the terrorists win" replies. That's not what it's about. It's not about giving in to our enemies, it's about preventing people from becoming our enemies in the first place.

          You are obviously too mature, perceptive, and reasonable to be on Slashdot. Please leave immediately, before you ruin the site's reputation.

      • by Fieryphoenix (1161565) on Monday June 16, 2008 @09:04AM (#23809263)
        But a Golden Age only lasts ten turns!
    • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mikael_j (106439) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:38AM (#23806863)

      The knowledge on how to build a nuke is by no means much of a secret. Yes, the design for more recent fusion-based and otherwise advanced nuclear weapons is surrounded by a lot of hush-hush but a simple fission-based nuke could probably be designed and built by students from any university engineering department, the theory behind it is available in most libraries, as is the basic design of some of the earlier nuclear weapons.

      What is hard to get a hold of is the fissible material needed to manufacture a working bomb.

      /Mikael

      • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fbjon (692006) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:43AM (#23806887) Homepage Journal
        The issue is not with building a gadget that produces an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction. Putting that in a compact, reliable, and deliverable package is what takes effort.
        • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mikael_j (106439) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:46AM (#23806905)

          Well, I don't want to sound like a fearmonger but compact isn't much of a problem as long as your definition of compact is "smaller than a freight container". Reliability might be a bit harder for your average garage nuke to have though...

          /Mikael

          • by Terje Mathisen (128806) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:58AM (#23806997)
            Any bomb that fits easily into a standard freight container is already a horrible nightmare:

            These containers travel worldwide, are rarely inspected if the paperwork seems to be OK, and they can easily stay in a harbor area of a major city for many months.

            The only trigger you need is a cell phone, so you can preplace them wherever you like and blow up any coastal city in the world, whenever you want to.

            Stopping this scenario is probably (or should be) the real nightmare for most of the three-letter agencies in the world.

            Terje
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by mikael_j (106439)

              Yes, already at that size it would be difficult to protect yourself from, but as I pointed out in my previous post, reliability would also be important and if you're building your nuke in some warehouse in an unstable country chances are you'll a bit of a problem building a nuke that will go off reliably instead of being just a "fizzle" (although that could be pretty bad as well), and if you want a predictable yield then it's definitely something that takes a lot of resources.

              /Mikael

              • by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever&nerdshack,com> on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:58AM (#23807573)
                A gun-assembly bomb is extremely reliable*. The manhattan project designers only included a neutron source as a detonator in Little Boy to make sure it went off at just the right altitude; Based on the rate of neutron release due to spontaneous fissions, the bomb was absolutely gauranteed to have gone off within 1 or 2 seconds anyway. They didn't even build a test bomb they were so sure it would work.

                The problem is that gun bombs are an obscene waste of an extremely rare material; Little Boy had about five times as much uranium as Fat Man did plutonium (~100 vs ~20Kg) but a significantly inferior yield (~15 vs ~20KT). It's estimated that maybe 1/10 of Little Boy's uranium had fissioned when it disassembled.

                * YMMV depending on isotopic impurities, but terrorists aren't going to be the ones refining the metal.
            • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:02AM (#23807325) Homepage Journal
              Checkpoints fail to detect uranium in cargo containers [go.com] in two separate tests a year apart.

              (There's some argument about whether U-235 would have been detected by equipment that missed the U-238).
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Tom (822)
              Frankly, I wouldn't use a cell phone ringer as trigger. You'd just hate for the thing to blow up in your face because some telemarketer called.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                The way I would have done this would have been to use a particular SMS text message, and not just a voice call.

                With 140 bytes (160 7-bit chars), you can make the detonation key arbitrarily un-guessable.

                For extra credit, add a dead-man switch: An encrypted message which must be received every day (hour/week/whatever) to delay detonation.

                At this point you really wouldn't want to experience a longterm cell phone outage. :-(

                Terje
      • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Informative)

        by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:49AM (#23806919) Homepage Journal
        The knowledge of how to build one small and light enough to fit on top of a missile is still closely held. That's the key point of this story, that a design was out there which a country with a missile program could use.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by shalombi (716300)
        Above all the difficulty is not creating the bomb, all the theory is relatively simple and like you said understood by most physics students but there are a lot of other factors especially the calibrations required to get the reaction going. You could smack plutonium together all you want if you don't get it right it won't blow. That's part of the reason for extensive nuclear tests. Well that and the feeling of power when you see and island disappear.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Max Threshold (540114)
        Exactly. The devil's in the practical details.

        For example, I could probably build a jet bomber. I know the theory behind jet engines. I know a little about aerodynamics, fabrication, welding, electronics, and the physics of aiming an aerial bomb. Whatever I don't know, I know how to look up. But building it would take a long time, cost a lot of money, involve a lot of trial-and-error, and the end result would be an impractical piece of junk compared to any real military aircraft. Same goes for buildin
    • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by siddesu (698447) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:52AM (#23806937)
      That is an often-repeated statement, however there is very little in terms of facts that support it.

      Building nukes, especially advanced ones in quantities over a single test weapon still requires (in addition to the plans) a large and relatively modern industrial base -- for the components, for the various explosives, for the wealth of rare materials necessary etc. etc.

      Having such an industry USSR style -- for the purpose of nukes only -- is quite expensive, and out of reach of almost any country. Hence you don't see many succeeding, especially when there is resolute opposition from the superpowers to such efforts.

      So, no, the nuclear cat isn't quite out of the bag yet, the weapons are out of reach of mostly every state, and those countries who make them profit very little from having them per se.

      And, thankfully, nuke-building capability tom-clancy style is so far quite out of reach of any kind of terrorist group.

      International forums and inspections as those that exist under the NPT regime are still the most important, effective and relevant way to keep your "nuclear cat" in the bag.
      • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TapeCutter (624760) * on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:15AM (#23807081) Journal
        "the weapons are out of reach of mostly every state, and those countries who make them profit very little from having them per se"

        Funny how India suddenly respected Pakistan when Pakistan demonstrated they could also make nukes.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by siddesu (698447)
          And your point is? Most of the population in both India and Pakistan still live in poverty despite each of them having the odd atomic bomb, and both countries suffered heavy economic penalties because of their decision to pursue nukes.
    • by erlehmann (1045500) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:22AM (#23807137)

      GNUke is an sophisticated and compact nuclear warhead - and more. At its core is are two pieces of piece of sub-critical material that can be combined into a supercritical mass for civil and military use alike.

      GNUke is a GNU project which is similar to the Little Boy Bomb which was developed at Manhattan Project Laboratories by J. Robert Oppenheimer and colleagues. It can be considered as a different implementation of Litte Boy. There are some important differences, but much destruction wreaked through Little Boy can be achieved unaltered with GNUke.

      One of GNUke's strengths is the ease with which well-produced fission-quality material can be included. Great care has been taken over the defaults for the minor design choices in the nuclear fission process, but the user retains full control.

      GNUke blueprints are available as Free Documentation under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU Free Documentation License in source code form. It can easily be set up and functions on a wide variety of launch vehicles and similar systems (including B-29 Superfortresses and ICBMs).

    • Re:Garage Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stanislav_J (947290) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:47AM (#23807253)

      Let's face it, the Nuclear Cat is slowly crawling out of the bag and will no longer be containable soon.

      Imagine cleaning up after a nuclear cat...oy...

      Seriously, it will happen, and sooner than we think. Either a state-sponsored or aided group stealing a nuke or paying off enough disgruntled Russian scientists and engineers to make a decent one, or some independent cell with a sufficient amount of knowhow and enough reasonably enriched uranium to create a big honkin', crude and ugly, but deadly Hiroshima-style boomer. I'm not as worried about the physical effects -- such a device would, indeed, kill thousands and devastate part of whatever city it's set off in, but is likely for financial and physical reasons to be a one-off event. What scares me is this: if you thought our freedoms have already been eroded, compromised, or plain out negated to an uncomfortable degree after 9/11, just wait until some group sets off a nuke somewhere on U.S. soil. When that happens, prepare to live under the Fourth Reich. Even a so-called "dirty bomb" that would merely spread some radiation around will be sufficiently alarming (the very word "radiation" scares the hell out of the masses) will mean more draconian laws, more intrusive surveillance, and more suspensions of Constitutional rights. But that is the victory terrorists hope for -- it's not so much the actual carnage that they seek, but the subsequent panic and overreaction of the populace and their government. "Terror" consists of far more than a body count.

  • Well, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:30AM (#23806811) Homepage Journal
    the server's been nuked.
  • by El Jynx (548908) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:31AM (#23806819)
    They've been on Usenet for ages. That's why Verizon is cutting off access to the binaries.
  • by NoobixCube (1133473) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:34AM (#23806839) Journal
    KHAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!
  • Why is it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:35AM (#23806851) Journal
    that no version of this story seems to try to point the source of these plans to the US? They probably should be. I can think of no better reason to understand why they found out about it than knowing the source of the material. Color me cynical.
    • Re:Why is it (Score:5, Informative)

      by tftp (111690) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:45AM (#23806897) Homepage
      Probably because the story clearly says that the design in question belongs to Pakistan. All things considered, a Pakistani nuclear scientist would be in a better position to steal his country's secret rather than a US design. As a foreigner in the US he, and his agents, would not be allowed to see anything of that sort, not even close. But in Pakistan he'd be an insider, even if he officially is not involved, and then all kinds of things can be done.
      • Re:Why is it (Score:4, Interesting)

        by johnny cashed (590023) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:59AM (#23807319) Homepage
        But the latest design found on Khan network computers in Switzerland, Bangkok and several other cities around the world is half the size and twice the power of the Chinese weapon, with far more modern electronics, the investigators say. The design is in electronic form, they said, making it easy to copy -- and they have no idea how many copies of it are now in circulation.

        Investigators said the evidence that the Khan network was trafficking in a tested, compact and efficient bomb design was particularly alarming, because if a country or group obtained the bomb design, the technological information would significantly shorten the time needed to build a weapon. Among the missiles that could carry the smaller weapon, according to some weapons experts, is the Iranian Shahab III, which is based on a North Korean design.


        I disagree with your first sentence. The article[the NY Times article excerpted above], according to my reading comprehension, does not clearly state that the design "belongs to Pakistan" in the sense that the design is of Pakistani origin. The Khan network was trafficking bomb designs. It specifically mentions the other design of being Chinese in origin.

        I would guess that a compact design would have to be tested in order for it to be trusted.

        My guess is that US and Soviet designs are on the black market. Once there, they found themselves on the Khan network. How many persons have this knowledge, or have access to this information? Extrapolate from there.

        1: US -> Soviet
        2: Soviet -> ???
        3: ??? -> Khan network

        Or:

        1: US -> Israel
        2: Israel -> ???
        3: ??? -> Khan network

        Wait, I left out Profit!
  • by wanax (46819) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:41AM (#23806875)
    Who cares? As a New Yorker, who's HS (Stuyvesant) was in the drop zone of 9/11, and who's dad along with several others decided to continue thesis defenses as the towers burned because if you change you life, the terrorists win... I say let them come. Even with nukes. I'll take the chance. My parents will take the chance. I don't really care who gets Nucs these days because MAD works, to such an extent that NK and Iran etc, will think twice before exporting working nukes. Because if a nuke built in Iran goes off in the US, Iran will cease to exist, and they know it.

    I have no solution, but to think that this is a major issue is not to understand politics.
  • Oh Crap! (Score:5, Funny)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:55AM (#23806959)

    The digital designs, found in heavily encrypted computer files in Switzerland, are believed to be in the possession of the US authorities
    Great! They're the last people we need to have even more nuclear weapons.
    • Re:Oh Crap! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nick_davison (217681) on Monday June 16, 2008 @02:59AM (#23806999)
      I joke, of course.

      But it's worth looking at another way of describing our wonderful nation which is, of course, completely "right" because it's "us" not some other "bad guys":

      Do we really want a country that's... invaded two other nations in the last decade (at times against the UN's will); set off civil wars in other nations; ignores the Geneva Convention when it doesn't suit it; has a long history of providing arms to nations/factions it later fights (Vietnamese during WWII, Taleban against the Russians, F-14s and nuclear plants to pre-revolutionary Iran, "We know they have WMDs, we still have the receipts" for Iraq); best of all, was one half of the nuclear arms race that was the greatest threat to all life on our planet for the last sixty years; and finally a nation that's stated its intent to ignore weapons treaties and start testing a new breed of tactical nukes... to have more nuclear plans?
  • Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:17AM (#23807095)

    "Given that Khan's revelations were made in early 2004, does that mean it took the IAEA 1-2 years to brute-force the encryption?"
    No, it just means that it is now time to stir up people's fear of "international terrorism" so whichever government let this bit of news out can squeeze through yet another draconian security measure.
  • by AlgorithMan (937244) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:20AM (#23807123) Homepage
    Encryption: Bad
    Laptop searches at the border: good
    reason: TERRERISTS!!!
    WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!!!
    THE AXIS OF EVIL!!!

    let me guess once, what laws will soon be proposed (which will by the way legalize some more of the unconstitutional actions of the bush-regime...)
  • by TummyX (84871) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:58AM (#23807311)

    Given that Khan's revelations were made in early 2004, does that mean it took the IAEA 1-2 years to brute-force the encryption?


    The IAEA were pretty pissed when they found out that the key was 0xDEADBEEF
  • by jsse (254124) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:27AM (#23807429) Homepage Journal

    Given that Khan's revelations were made in early 2004, does that mean it took the IAEA 1-2 years to brute-force the encryption?
    Nope, that's the time it took for their lawyers to get DMCA-exemption order from federal court for performing decrpytion. The actually decryption only took them 1 minute. God saves americans.
  • fearmongering (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday June 16, 2008 @05:52AM (#23807821) Homepage Journal
    The real question is: Whose agenda does it fit to reveal this, and now.

    See, nukes aren't that complicated. Most of us learn the basics at school. Assuming the blueprint is genuine, and of a tested design, that's a piece of valuable work, but not groundbreaking. There is no threat of any living-in-caves terrorists coming up with a nuke due to some blueprints. Funny how all this fearmongering always forgets the amount and quality of equipment you need to actually turn a blueprint into a working bomb.

    It's roughly comparable to having a blueprint of a machine gun (available in most libraries, and Google will probably give you a hundred of them at least), and an actual working machine gun. You just can't build one in your garage, there's a little bit more specialised precision equipment required. And then you'd still need the ammo.

    So who is trying to get a bigger budget for what? That's the question we should be asking.
    • Re:fearmongering (Score:5, Informative)

      by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Monday June 16, 2008 @08:15AM (#23808729)
      Actually you can build a sub-machine gun in your garage ....AK-47 was designed in the 1940's and is so widely used because it is so easy to manufacture and maintain ....and the ammo is simple and easy to make as well ....

      Nuclear weapons are a completely different matter the theory is (relatively) simple, but the practice is complicated, lengthy and requires a lot of technical expertise ...

  • by tietokone-olmi (26595) on Monday June 16, 2008 @06:15AM (#23807911)
    There's many different approaches. Bruteforcing even a 128-bit AES key will still take more time than life on Earth has, even given Moore's observation on semiconductor density.

    However, bruteforcing a passphrase usually takes considerably less time.

    Bruteforcing an interrogation subject can be very quick indeed.
  • by flajann (658201) <flajann@linuxbloNETBSDke.com minus bsd> on Monday June 16, 2008 @06:33AM (#23808025) Homepage Journal
    "According to a leading US researcher. The digital designs, found in heavily encrypted computer files in Switzerland, are believed to be in the possession of the US authorities and..."

    "Heavily encrypted?" What does that mean? Couldn't be all that heavy if the encryption was broken, right?

    Oh, perhaps they mean Hollywood-style encryption! In nearly every Hollywood movie you ever see that contains anything about encryption, the encryption is always "heavy" and yet broken long before the movie ends. Since this is probably the only exposure to "encryption" most of the public sees, the public must have a very warped idea of what encryption is all about!

    It always amazes me that encryption that should take longer than the Age of the Universe to break is "broken" in just a few minutes by some "super" kid that can barely even spell the word!

    Maybe I should do a website on "Hollywood Mathematics" along with the one I want to do on "Hollywood Physics"...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Teancum (67324)
      This is just something running on Hollywood OS. You know, that wonderful operating system that can perform network searches in a matter of just a few seconds finding the most trivial piece of data you ever could think of...

      And of course being able to blow up a 240x320 jpeg image of a football stadium to be able to read not only the license plate number but also the serial number of the annual registration tag of the cool red Porsche that just happens to have the rear end pointed toward the camera. Now tha
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info AT devinmoore DOT com> on Monday June 16, 2008 @06:58AM (#23808197) Homepage Journal
    The blueprints for nukes aren't that hard to get; fortunately, the weapons-grade plutonium purchase attempt will raise a few real big flags.
  • by Archtech (159117) on Monday June 16, 2008 @08:21AM (#23808779)
    A first-year physics student called John Aristotle Philips did all this as a summer project his first year at Princeton, way back in the early 19790s. Read the book - it's quite enlightening (as well as amusing).

    http://www.amazon.com/Mushroom-True-Story-Bomb-Kid/dp/0671827316/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213618717&sr=1-2 [amazon.com]
  • by ymgve (457563) on Monday June 16, 2008 @10:27AM (#23810405) Homepage
    I think I have seen these blueprints before, I think they were named something like

    Pakistani.Nuke.Blueprints.2004.REPACK.READNFO.KHaNDOX.torrent

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