The Industrialist Behind Stuxnet: Robert Shillman

Long thought to be a joint initiative between Israel and the U.S.—the hidden figure behind Stuxnet's deployment and evolution has attacked countries other than Iran.


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Due to numerous issues, including the risk of military escalation in Syria through the Trump administration’s Elliott Abrams, Jared Kushner, John Bolton and U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights for Israelwe have decided to release some pertinent information about an unfinished story. Expect an increasing amount of detail.


Robert Shillman, the billionaire industrialist that funds the “Shillman Fellows,” was involved in assisting Israeli military intelligence with the development and deployment of Stuxnet—a very complex piece of malware which was used to attack the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, Iran in 2010.

This act of sabotage utilizing a cyber-weapon created by a nation state shocked the world at the time.

Stuxnet ended up destroying numerous nuclear centrifuges in Iran (~1/5th), throughout its dissemination into the country by Israel, particularly through its second version which accounted for the majority of failures in Iranian industrial equipment.

Long thought to be jointly developed by Israel and the United States —the actual people behind the creation of Stuxnet were shrouded in mystery, with the exception of a cryptic hint by Gabi Ashkenazi in 2011, then-Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Cognex Corporation, an American-based manufacturer of machine vision systems, was first founded in 1981 by Shillman — known as “Dr. Bob.” Shillman, an industrialist and philanthropist, is involved in a number of major pro-Israel organizations such as the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Shillman has donated to the FIDF, Project Veritas, Rebel Media and others.

Shillman is also a Director at the DHFC and sits on the board of the FIDF.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush appointed Shillman to accompany him on a trip to Jerusalem in 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel.

Shillman also has a “unique” view of the relationship between Israel and the U.S.—or lack thereof.

Speaking at a forum hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) in 2014, Shillman asked Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer what "Israel would tell America to do in Syria," "if Israel had its say on American foreign policy in Syria."

Shillman's view of Israel's relationship with the U.S....

FIDF

Shillman is most well known for his financial backing of pro-Israel figures such as Tommy Robinson. Fellowships provided by Shillman, such as the one Robinson holds, could amount to up to £5,000 a month. Numerous pro-Israel columnists are Shillman Fellows, such as Daniel Greenfield and Robert Spencer.

Shillman, who is Jewish, is also tied to Chabad-Lubavitch with wife Mao Shillman.

How was Shillman identified?

Cognex Corporation

Shillman was partially identified through his offices in Hsinchu, Taiwan, where digital certificates from semiconductor manufacturers primarily located in Hsinchu Science and Industrial park were stolen and used by Israeli military intelligence to breach Kaspersky Labs using a different version of Stuxnet. This breach was later used to create underlying intelligence about alleged "Russian" Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) for Western countries.

In all three attacks—Stuxnet, Duqu 1.0 and Duqu 2.0—the attackers employed digital certificates from companies based in Taiwan.

Two digital certificates were used with Stuxnet—one from RealTek Semiconductor and one from JMicron—both companies located in the Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park in Hsinchu City, Taiwan. Duqu 1.0 used a digital certificate from C-Media Electronics, a maker of digital audio circuits located in Taipei, Taiwan. Foxconn, from which the fourth digital certificate was stolen, is headquartered in Tucheng, New Taipei City, Taiwan, about 40 miles away from RealTek and JMicron. But it also has a branch office in the Hsinchu business park.

Another part of identifying his involvement pertains to his acquisition of a part of Siemens AG.

Siemens, of course, was the industrial manufacturer that was the main focus of Stuxnet—which targets programmable logic controllers (PLC) and seeks out Siemens Step7 software.

Cognex purchased part of Siemens AG in 2003, acquiring the wafer identification business of Siemens Dematic AG, giving Cognex, and subsequently Israeli intelligence—access to Siemens factories. Through this purchase they also acquired important patents.

Business Wire:

Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ: CGNX), the world's leading supplier of machine vision systems, announced today that it has acquired the wafer identification business of Siemens Dematic AG, a subsidiary of Siemens AG (NYSE: SI). Siemens Dematic is the world's leading supplier of logistics and factory automation equipment and has been the leading supplier of wafer identification systems to semiconductor manufacturers in Europe. Under the terms of the agreement, Cognex acquired, for an undisclosed amount of cash, the rights to all of Siemens' patented and unpatented wafer identification technology, as well as the related assets of their wafer identification business. The acquisition was completed on March 31st.

This provided a direct line from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Israel's equivalent to MIT, to Siemens and also provided Israel with the ability to track where industrial components or equipment were being delivered to. This is due to Technion being intertwined with Israeli military intelligence and cyber-security wings such as Unit 8200—also known as Israel SIGINT National Unit (ISNU).

Unit 8200 is Israel's equivalent to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

Although the main methodology through which Stuxnet was suspected of propagating to its target, especially across air gaps, was by USB drivesShillman's connection provides an alternative but also logical means to guarantee deployment into the country.

Shillman is also a Technion Guardian, a title reserved only for the few that have gone above and beyond in the pursuit of Israel's interests ("Defender of Israel"). The plaza in the physics department of the Technion is named after Shillman, as well, as are numerous titles for faculty.

One of the other points about Shillman's connection to Stuxnet, is Rod Rosenstein's involvement in the prosecution of General James Cartwright, who was tapped by then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2012 to lead up the probe into leaks to journalists pertaining to Stuxnet.

The final thing that identified Shillman is something more disturbing: Shillman Fellows are tied to cyber-attacks that have been attributed to countries other than Israel by the NSA.


Zanting

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