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Zero Days (2016)Zero Days (2016)

This documentary film by Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) reviews the history and collateral damage of the Stuxnet malware that was launched by the United States and Israel against Iran's Natanz nuclear facility in 2010.  At the time, the worm was the largest and most sophisticated piece of malware ever created.  But that's not the scary part.  When Israel fiddled with the digital weapon on its own, it infected computers all over the world, including the likes of the KGB and our own here in the US.  The monster had turned on its creator. And however frightening this first digital weapon was, one security expert compares it to a "back alley operation," saying, "the age of science fiction cyber warfare is already here."  Another expert referred to the "revolution in the threat landscape."  Think about the physical destruction of power grids, water supplies, rail lines, and, quite literally, any other part of our social infrastructure.  And you can bet your last dollar that what we did to Iran, other countries can retaliate in kind.  Gibney presses the question of whether Stuxnet was an undeclared act of state-sponsored (cyber) war.  Further, he forces the question of how a democracy that depends upon the rule of law, government accountability, and public discourse can openly discuss this inherently and deeply secret weapon.  After conducting war by land, sea, and air, we are now in a post cyber warfare age.  This warfare will be conducted by criminals for profit (cf. ransom ware), by hacktivists to cause chaos (Hillary Clinton's emails), by non-state terrorists who play by their own rule book, and, as this movie shows, by nation states against their perceived enemies.  I watched this film on Amazon Streaming, and would add that because of the nature of the movie, there's no need to see it on the big screen.

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