The film Zero Days introduces a number of controversial topics related to the intersection of computer security and world affairs, exemplified by the Stuxnet worm incident. Moreover, some of the events portrayed are based on interviews with anonymous sources and leaked information, the veracity of which is debatable. In this assignment you will have a chance to express your own views on some of the ideas presented in the film. There are no easy answers to how (and even if) cyberwarfare should be conducted, making this an excellent launching point for discussion.
Briefly respond to the following prompts in a PDF document (a few sentences for each one is fine, but feel free to write as much as you'd like). These responses will be summarized and discussed in class following the film. This film response is worth 50 points, which count towards your total class participation grade. It is due at 11:59pm on 2/16.
Was "Operation Olympic Games" (assuming it was indeed a real joint intelligence operation) an ethical action on the part of the government officials and technologists who designed and executed it? Why or why not? Explain your reasoning.
If you find yourself in the government space following graduation and are tasked with creating a new worm with capabilities similar to Stuxnet, to be targeted at a state perceived to be hostile to your own, would you do it? If yes, would you try to do anything different with respect to how the operation was executed? If no, how would you go about letting your boss down?
The term "cyberwarfare" appears frequently in the news, yet a concrete definition is hard to come by. What do you think it means? What might it encompass in terms of personnel, battlespace, activities, and consequences?
Send a copy of your response to the above prompts (in PDF format) via email to Aidan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Prof. Scheirer will grade these and lead a discussion based on the thoughts of the class during the week of 2/18.
If you have specific questions about this assignment before it is due, please reach out to Prof. Scheirer or Aidan during office hours, or via slack. This assignment is worth 50 points.