Stuxnet malware is 'weapon' out to destroy ... Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant?

Stuxnet malware is 'weapon' out to destroy ... Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant?
Stuxnet malware is 'weapon' out to destroy ... Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant?

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By Mark Clayton
Staff writer 
September 21, 2010

Cyber security experts say they have identified the world's first known 
cyber super weapon designed specifically to destroy a real-world target 
-- a factory, a refinery, or just maybe a nuclear power plant.

The cyber worm, called Stuxnet, has been the object of intense study 
since its detection in June. As more has become known about it, alarm 
about its capabilities and purpose have grown. Some top cyber security 
experts now say Stuxnet's arrival heralds something blindingly new: a 
cyber weapon created to cross from the digital realm to the physical 
world =E2=80=93 to destroy something.

At least one expert who has extensively studied the malicious software, 
or malware, suggests Stuxnet may have already attacked its target =E2=80=93 and 
that it may have been Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, which much of 
the world condemns as a nuclear weapons threat.

The appearance of Stuxnet created a ripple of amazement among computer 
security experts. Too large, too encrypted, too complex to be 
immediately understood, it employed amazing new tricks, like taking 
control of a computer system without the user taking any action or 
clicking any button other than inserting an infected memory stick. 
Experts say it took a massive expenditure of time, money, and software 
engineering talent to identify and exploit such vulnerabilities in 
industrial control software systems.

Unlike most malware, Stuxnet is not intended to help someone make money 
or steal proprietary data. Industrial control systems experts now have 
concluded, after nearly four months spent reverse engineering Stuxnet, 
that the world faces a new breed of malware that could become a template 
for attackers wishing to launch digital strikes at physical targets 
worldwide. Internet link not required.


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