Happy Chanukah – 8 Nights of Bots

Tonight, we celebrate the victory of a small band of Jews over the Syrian Greek empire in the year 164 BCE.  This watershed event is a hopeful reminder of the ability to prevail against all odds.  As today’s headlines highlight the doom of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the reality is everyday there are little and big miracles that help the world (and by extension the Jewish people) survive.  These sparks of light have manifested itself in technology as well.

Last year (around Chanukah time), Israel attack Iran without firing a shot with the Stuxnet worm.  This infiltration is reminiencent of the ingenuity of the Maccabees.  Stuxnet used the Windows operating system to attack the Siemens industrial equipment that controlled the uranium enrichment infrastructure, thus setting back the leader of the “axis of evil” years.  Israel and the United States have neither confirmed nor denied their involvement in creating the malware.

According to experts, the Stuxnet malware had pinpoint precision in its payload, “the attackers took great care to make sure that only their designated targets were hit…It was a marksman’s job.” This resulted in destroying up to 1000 centrifuges, by forcing “a change in the centrifuge’s rotor speed, first raising the speed and then lowering it, likely with the intention of inducing excessive vibrations or distortions that would destroy the centrifuge. If its goal was to quickly destroy all the centrifuges in the FEP, Stuxnet failed. But if the goal was to destroy a more limited number of centrifuges and set back Iran’s progress in operating the FEP, while making detection difficult, it may have succeeded, at least temporarily” (ISIS).

As we light candles tonight, we recall the miracles that protected the Jewish people past, present and future.  We pray that today’s oil will last not only eight days but give us light for an eternity.


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