The Stuxnet worm, which we covered in two previous articles, is continuing to make headlines. Sophisticated malwares are nothing new. Just last year, we saw the Conflicker, which used exceptionally smart techniques to avoid disinfection. However, Stuxnet is a different beast all together.
“I think that this is the turning point, this is the time when we got to a really new world, because in the past there were just cyber-criminals, now I am afraid it is the time of cyber-terrorism, cyber-weapons and cyber-wars,” said Eugene Kaspersky, co-founder and chief executive officer of Kaspersky Lab.
The worm has been confirmed to have caused extensive damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities, and is being currently analyzed by US security organisations. It has also been found in Siemens systems in India, Indonesia, Pakistan and elsewhere. Stuxnet is unique because of its ability to identify a facility’s control network and wreck it. “This malicious program was not designed to steal money, send spam, grab personal data, no, this piece of malware was designed to sabotage plants, to damage industrial systems”, stated Eugene Kaspersky.
The origin and exact purpose of Stuxnet is still a mystery. “One of our hardest jobs is attribution and intent,” said Sean McGurk, director of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). The worm, which exploits four separate 0-day (previously unknown) vulnerabilities, is being dubbed as a working and fearsome prototype of a cyber-weapon.