There is a new villain in the computer virus world and it is from the Stuxnet family of malware. The Stuxnet attack exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software, WinCCConnect, which is an integral component of the distributed control and SCADA systems that facilitate production operations in many process-manufacturing companies. The vulnerability would allow the virus to extract process data and possibly HMI screens.
The director and chief economist of the independent watchdog The US Cyber Consequences Unit Scott Borg says “Either the attacker is planning on stealing very valuable information or they are going to use this access to the control system to do bad things.” The virus’s purpose seems to be what can only be termed as industrial espionage as attackers could steal information on how plants are run to possibly extort money or influence manufacturers by taking away the competitive edge with the information obtained.
Why PC’s are vulnerable
PC’s need a lot of attention and it is easy to find a chink in the armor. For instance, if any of the machines are not up to date on virus protection, all it takes is one person to bring the virus in and it spreads to all other machines with out of date virus ware.
ACP’s ThinManager-Ready terminals have the USB drives disabled as a default, so the most likely access point for the virus is denied. In the terminal services world, PC’s are replaced with ACP’s ThinManager-Ready terminals and a few servers. Fewer servers are needed to run ThinManager so you can concentrate resources to fewer critical systems. In addition, fewer terminals to update also means better security and less chance of any malware entering into the system, thus saving time and money. As long as the servers have adequate virus protection, the system is safe and the virus will not spread. There is no hard drive on a thin client to store the virus, so even if the thin client is exposed simply rebooting the terminal will erase the virus off the thin client.
There will always be viruses to get into your computer system and do bad things. ThinManager significantly decreases that risk while increasing ROI.