Storyville is one of the few remaining documentary series with ability to terrify and bring viewers out in a cold sweat and Zero Days: Nuclear Cyber Sabotage will certainly do that.
We’ve heard a lot about hacking and cyber terrorism in the past months since the election victory of of Donald Trump. This film by Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (he of the acclaimed Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief) raises that bar to another level with an unnerving examination of the role that Western governments and Israel played in the disruption of the Iranian nuclear program.
The story revolves around a now familiar malware, called Stuxnet, and how it was carried via infected USB drives into the heart of Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant. The cascade of failure that followed the release of the cyber-worm into plant’s systems is a sobering reminder of the threats posed by cyber criminals or, in this instance, state-sponsored hackers.
In an increasingly automated world with everything from airliners to nuclear power plants and weapons systems being susceptible to malicious code injection, it is troubling to see how quickly the malware was able to spread and how long it was able to remain undetected before it was triggered.
Once you’ve watched this documentary you’ll never look at that laptop that mysteriously reboots itself, or the TV that goes into standby of its own accord, in the same light again. The internet of things is an amazing technological advancement but it offers as much opportunity to rogue forces as it does convenience to us. You’ll have to rock yourself to sleep after this.
Zero Days: Nuclear Cyber Sabotage -Storyville Monday 9pm on BBC4; also available on iPlayer after broadcast.