Report: U.S. & Israel Behind Cyber-Attacks (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

Download the Cyberwarfare ESL lesson plan here: US-Israel-Iran-CyberWarfare-UppIntermediate-04062012.doc Donate towards our web hosting bill!

Cyberwarfare Lesson Plan (ESL): Upper-Intermediate

Cyberwarfare Lesson Plan (ESL): Warm-up (Pair Work)

1) Has a computer virus ever caused problems for you?
2) What steps do you take to protect your data and privacy?
3) Have you been following the conflict with Iran? What are the issues?
4) Do all countries have a right to possess nuclear weapons?

Report: U.S. Behind Flame & Cyber-Attacks in Middle East (June, 2012)

A new report written by New York Times reporter David Sanger has accused the Bush and Obama administrations of employing cyberwarfare. Sanger’s accusation is based on interviews with American, Israeli, and European officials over the past 18 months. Allegedly, the first mission carried out by the Bush administration was codenamed Olympic Games. Its result was a worm that was designed to sabotage Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility Natanz. The worm, designed by American and Israeli experts, infected controllers of the facility’s centrifuges (delicate machines which spin at supersonic speeds used to purify uranium). One of Sanger’s inside sources boasted that the brilliance of the worm was that it sent signals from infected controllers to the control room indicating everything was operating normally. Meanwhile, centrifuges wobbled and destructed. In total, nearly 1,000 centrifuges were taken down. However, to the disappointment of the U.S., the worm later spread worldwide when an Iranian engineer connected his computer to the Internet. The code was soon revealed. The worm became known as Stuxnet in 2010. Experts who analyzed the code accused the U.S. of designing it. The U.S. declined to comment.
 
Another worm, Flame, is now causing havoc. Unlike Stuxnet which took down sites, flame was designed to gather information and record audio and camera activity. Iran appears to be the central target, although other machines in the Middle East including those in Syria and Sudan have been impacted. It has been in operation since 2010. Experts claim its sophistication and size indicate it was created by the secretive U.S. National Security Agency.
 
According to officials interviewed by Sanger, Obama was aware that the U.S. was pushing into uncharted territory with its cyberwarfare operations. However, when it came to stopping Iran, he argued that the U.S. lacked a better alternative. The U.S. has recently acknowledged developing cyberweapons, although it has never admitted using them.
 
Iran has reportedly created its own cyberunit, although there have been no signs that it has attempted to retaliate so far. (329 words)
 
[Sources: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html?_r=2, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57445275-83/obama-takes-cyberwarfare-to-new-level-report-says]

Cyberwarfare Lesson Plan (ESL): Follow-Up Questions

1)     In the context of the article, what is Olympic Games?
2)     How was the code revealed?
3)     True or False: The U.S. has admitted involvement in Stuxnet.
4)     How is Flame different from Stuxnet?
5)     True or False: Evidence suggests  a large-scale cyber-attack from Iran will happen soon.
6)     Your opinion: Do you believe the U.S.’s actions against Iran are justified?

Cyberwarfare Lesson Plan (ESL): Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
employ (verb)
allegedly
worm
sabotage (verb)
boast (verb)
brilliance
wobble (verb)
decline (verb)
havoc
uncharted
acknowledge (verb)
retaliate (verb)
Answers
  • employ – utilize; apply
  • allegedly – reportedly
  • worm – a malicious computer program that copies itself.
  • sabotage – damage your enemy's equipment on purpose
  • boast – talk with too much pride about sth you have done
  • brilliance – greatness
  • wobble – move from side to side in an unsteady way
  • decline – refuse
  • havoc – a situation with a lot of damage, destruction and disorder
  • uncharted – unexplored
  • acknowledge – accept that sth is true
  • retaliate – fight back; hit back

Cyberwarfare Lesson Plan (ESL): Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / uprising
Obama / employ
allegedly / cyber-attack
worm / havoc
sabotage / facility
United States / boast
brilliance / plan
wobble / bicycle
decline / acknowledge
uncharted / territory
Iran / retaliate

Cyberwarfare Lesson Plan (ESL): Brainstorm (Pair Work)

What kind of disruptions could cyber-attacks cause? Brainstorm possible scenarios with a partner and then present your list to the class.

Cyberwarfare Lesson Plan (ESL): BLACK OUT! (Role-play – Pair Work)

Situation: A worm has taken down the national electrical power grid. The entire country is covered in darkness. Mobile phones, however, are still functioning. Role-play the below 3 scenarios with a partner.
Student A
You are on your way to visit your friend who is a nurse. You are in his/her building’s elevator when the lights go out. You are stuck between floors. There is a pregnant woman in the elevator and her water has just broke. Call your friend and get advice on what to do.
 
Student B
You are a nurse. Your friend is coming to visit your apartment. Soon, he/she will phone you.
 
 
Student A
You are walking with your friend (Student B) on the street. Both of you are in desperate need of money and you think the black out is a great opportunity. Try to convince your friend to commit a crime (e.g. a robbery at a bank) with you.
 
Student B
You are walking with your friend (Student A) on the street. Both of you a very poor. There is a citywide blackout. Your friend says he/she has an idea.
 
 
Student A
You are your country’s president. You are relaxing on the beach in Hawaii, half-drunk. Your phone will soon ring.
 
Student B
You are the national security advisor to the president. A nationwide black out has happened and is causing massive problems. People are looting; cities are on fire, etc. Call the president (Student A) and get instruction on how to manage the situation.

Cyberwarfare Lesson Plan (ESL): Discussion Questions

1)     Do you think your government involved in cyberwarfare?
2)     Cyber-Terrorism: Were the attacks mentioned in the article acts of terrorism?
3)     What’s your opinion of Barack Obama?
4)     Are wars carried out by computers or unmanned aircraft too casual?
5)     Are you a supporter of Israel?
6)     Can a cyber-attack be considered an act of war?
7)     Should a document like the Geneva Convention be drafted to regulate cyberwarfare?

 

Cyberwarfare ESL Lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com

Was this helpful? Donate to our web hosting bill to show your support!

2 comments on “Report: U.S. & Israel Behind Cyber-Attacks (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

  1. jordan (Posted on 6-7-2012 at 12:14) Reply

    HEY JUST WANTED TO SAY KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK…I KNOW YOU USE ROLE PLAY FOR SOME OF THESE BUT HAVE U THOUGHT OF DİFFERENT ACTİVİTİES…LIKE I THINK FOR THE ROBOT ARTICLE YOU WOULD BREAK THE CLASS UP INTO GROUPS AND THEY WOULD CREATE A ROBOT AND I KNOW THERE WERE OTHERS….THANKS AGAIN!!!! :)

  2. MB (Posted on 6-7-2012 at 12:40) Reply

    Thanks Jordan!
    Yes, if you have any suggestions for different activities, please let me know. I make these lessons for my classes, which are taught in businesses with businesspeople. But I think we used the ‘make your own robot’ idea for one last year’s lesson plans called ‘Robot News’. Thanks for the feedback and I hope your classes are successful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.