Over the last few months, we have been hearing more and more about the Stuxnet Worm. Originating in 2007, it became a topic of conversation in the main stream media after its global deployment in 2010. At the time, Symantec reported that less than 2% of all known Stuxnet infections were on machines in the United States. Now, almost two years later, it is once again front and center for both its relationship to the newly discovered Flame malware, and recent surge in infecting new networks and machines.
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.
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