The Reel Review
This muckraking documentary by Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) is about the largely unnoticed moment that was equivalent of the Atomic Bomb in the new world of cyber-warfare – the Stuxnet malware cyberattack that briefly shut down much of Iran’s computer network in 2010 and reportedly ruined many of its nuclear centrifuges. The attack was groundbreaking in that it was a “zero day” attack – one that lies dormant and does not need action by the computer operator to begin its attack.
Gibney’s chilling documentary focuses on the suspected culprits behind that attack – the U.S. and Israeli governments, and the Pandora’s Box it has created as world governments scramble to launch and protect themselves against similar, even more wide-reaching cyberattacks. (Iran is widely believed to be behind the subsequent 2012 cyberattacks against Saudi Aramco and the U.S. banking system.)
While Gibney is hamstrung by a lack of “on the record” material and interviews due to the highly-classified nature of the subject, the questions he raises, about the potential for cyberattacks against the national power grid, communications and transportation infrastructures, and one can infer, the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, is both sobering and horrifying.