Cyberwar gone bad: How Stuxnet backfired

David Baer
6 min readNov 20


Iran is in many ways a modern society with deep rich history, now Iran nuclear capabilities have expanded and are a considerable threat. Unfortunately for both Israel and Iran the roots of religious warfare go too deep to set aside the despite both being modern civilized countries. The recent tariffs on Iran have put them in a bad position, reminiscent to the German’s position after WWI of being strangled by economic sanctions. Iranians see their sovereignty as being at risk and especially after tariffs and a massive cyber warfare attack, they were understandably outraged and recently shored up their defenses both nuclear and cyber.

Thankfully in America we live in a protective bubble where we mainly just get mad at obnoxious douchebags on the internet. We have the luxury of the defense of two oceans, and the largest military in human history. We don’t have to worry about being invaded, attacked or destroyed in any meaningful way. The only time that bubble was punctured a bit when 3,000+ died on 9/11 we countered by spending trillions of dollars and killing hundreds of thousands of people over the past 18 years.

Israel is in many ways similar to US, but is far from having a protective bubble. Due to geographical and ideological factors it is stuck fighting the same ancient religious warfare going on for thousands of years. The Israelis are far less defended and have to be much more proactive in their defense, and much less subtle. Their version of the NSA Unit 8200’s modifications to Stuxnet making it public by enabling it to spread to thousands of computers, putting the US in a dangerous position as their ally and protector.

In 2012 Stuxnet, the worlds first major cyberwarfare supervirus, was a seemingly “benign” way for the US to covertly intervene and disable Iranian nuclear capabilities. Their plan may have worked if it had remained covert as intended if Iran thought it was a failure not foreign attack. Unfortunately for US Cyber Command the “Israeli NSA” wasn’t quite as patient or subtle and beefed up the precision code with a few more “zero days” that spread it far and wide. The virus they created specifically to covertly disable Iranian nuclear facility aggressively found its way across hundreds of thousands of computers, and on to front page news far from its covert intentions.

Iranians were rightfully outraged, and in response rapidly built up their cyber defense force. Embedding unknown thousands of dangerous viruses across the worlds infrastructures in retaliation, much like we do. In the 7 years since Stuxnet was exposed to the world, Iran has rebuilt their nuclear facilities stronger than they ever were before. These idiotic wars punish innocent people on both sides of the fence, innocent Israelis and Iranians do not want to die and the vast majority just want to live their lives and raise their families in peace. The Israeli government is far too warlike for their own good and has destabilized world peace.

While it’s understandable after nearly annihilated by the Nazis that thousands of Jewish refugees from around the world would want a sovereign nation and the ability to protect themselves from another massacre. After dealing with thousands of years of rough history including persecution and slavery, the UN was very accommodating to Jews wishing to return to their traditional homeland of Palestine. Iranians and other nearby countries saw this as a hostile takeover and were rightfully concerned if they were next.

This dangerous game the US, Israel and Iran are playing could very well lead to disaster for all sides. While the major powers of the world haven’t had to use nuclear weapons since WW2 due to the obvious downside of mutually assured destruction (blowing up the planet) that may change if the US & Allies keep bullying nuclear capable countries and backing them into a corner. If the post WWI economic sanctions on Germany are any indicator for war, we may want to start stocking up the old bomb shelters of yesteryear and get ready for a new Cold War.

In addition to the seemingly distant threat of nuclear war, the far more realistic likelihood will be cyber warfare. Cyber warfare, like stuxnet, is much less of an obvious visible spectacle than an Iran nuclear bomb explosion — but potentially way more deadly because of it’s likelihood to be used over a nuclear strike. Cyber warfare is not digital combat like the movie the Matrix, it’s far less theatrical. Malware embedded in computers and infrastructure across the world is laying dormant out of human eye — like Stuxnet was supposed to be.

Malware capable of shutting down electrical grids, communications, sewer grids and god knows what else is predicted to be covertly embedded throughout the world on untold number of computers and infrastructures. In our modern societies so dependent on these critical infrastructures we would be grossly unequipped to survive without access to clean water, electricity and communications. One of the reason these infrastructure attacks haven’t been launched is because both sides know how severe the consequences would be: civilians dying in slow, brutal deaths. There have no reason to send thousands if not millions of civilians to die in brutal horrific fashion, not yet at least.

If backed into a corner with no other option these small nations under the oppressive thumb of the US & Allies may be forced to strike back. Unlike a nuclear bomb the embedded cyber war malware (should we call it warware?) may be laying dormant already. The problem with cyber warfare is it’s far more democratic than Iran nuclear capabilities. It doesn’t take enriched uranium to cleverly embed malware into a system, they can go undiscovered for years.

From the Palestinian perspective, thousands of people showed up at their doorstep claiming a two-thousand year old document gave them the right to set up shop. Similar to Trump’s view of refugees today, Palestinians saw the Jewish refugees as a threat and conflicts broke out that led to the war of 1947 and founding of Israel as a country. While the Israelis did not intend to invade and steal land ill intent, from the Palestinian perspective that is what they did and this has led them to decades of hard fought battles.

To make an already volatile situation worse reality TV star and failing real estate mogul turned president is playing a dangerous game that he’s far too uneducated to understand the ramifications of his actions. By falsely equating his shady business practices as evidence of competence or leadership the president has steered us into a “trade war.” The idiotic jingoism he leveraged to attract persuadable voters (with the help of Cambridge Analytica mass disinformation attack) to win the presidency has emboldened him to act on his “America first” (fuck everyone else) mentality despite the seemingly obvious consequences. This idiotic playing with fire may be pushing other countries enough to launch us back into another world war.

If the president had actually had military experience instead of getting out of service for “bone spurs” he might have a different perspective on why wars start and why that is bad. For a spoiled conman like himself it seems he sees war as good — more money to be had, and that the US is “too big to fail.” Without knowledge of history he’s unable to see the dangerous ramifications of his actions, drawing unnecessary lines in the sand, promoting hatred and intolerance which lead to the endless wars he “claims” to want to stop but in reality has only made worse.

While the unknowing public mocked the idea of “US Cyber Command” as nerds in uniform with laptops, they may be the last line of defense against you and your family dying a horrifically slow death so be nice to your friendly neighborhood programmers.



David Baer

Writer & digital artist working in web3. Satirical conspiracy theorist at