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Stuxnet - the worm to hell, 2010

Did you hear about Stuxnet, the computer worm that attacked Iran's centrifuges? I bet you did. It was on the news for a while. Then it stopped being there. Everyone got veeery quite about it. Obviously people stopped considering it so interesting. Wrong. Because it's extremely interesting, important and also dangerous. As you will find out from the articles that follow, whatever reason it was created for, it can attack all kind of industrial workstations, airlines included. And now that's bad. Because certainly you don't want airlines computers or nuclear power plants computers under the control of such virus. It's dangerous and it can pose serious threat for the national security of not one or two countries.
Why I say that? Because I got very mad on the reaction of Israeli politicians, which when asked if they created the virus smiled happily. What's funny about that, gentlemen? What's funny about unleashing a virus that can infect all kinds of installations causing troubles to millions if not billions of people? And if you did create it, why did you consider world's safety to be less important than your vendetta.
I don't care about the reasons of the hostility between Iran and Israel. Not in the case, at least. What I care, however, is people's lives. And I don't like it how some people turn out to be more important than other people. How some people think it's pretty cool to use such cybernukes when they cannot control that virus and they cannot guarantee that this virus won't get into the hands, won't get modified and won't lead to new terrorist threat. True, terrorists threats are good way to profit when you're on the top of the pyramid, but they are also very bad news when you're on the bottom of the same pyramid.

And I get badly pissed when I see people who don't give a damn about human lives and consider them as casualties. There is no such thing. You can be responsible only for the lives of people who chose to make you responsible for them. Everybody else isn't a casualty, but a murder. So no reason to smile, no reason to feel proud, the only thing you should feel is ashamed that you created something like this and then let it loose around the globe.

And I sincerely hope that all the random secret services will find a compromise and make a deal for our safety. Because that worm can do a lot of damage. And nobody wants that. Right?

  1. Worm Was Perfect for Sabotaging Centrifuges
  2. Stuxnet virus could target many industries

Worm Was Perfect for Sabotaging Centrifuges

November 18, 2010
Experts dissecting the computer worm suspected of being aimed at Iran’s nuclear program have determined that it was precisely calibrated in a way that could send nuclear centrifuges wildly out of control.
Their conclusion, while not definitive, begins to clear some of the fog around the Stuxnet worm, a malicious program detected earlier this year on computers, primarily in Iran but also India, Indonesia and other countries.
The paternity of the worm is still in dispute, but in recent weeks officials from Israel have broken into wide smiles when asked whether Israel was behind the attack, or knew who was. American officials have suggested it originated abroad.
The new forensic work narrows the range of targets and deciphers the worm’s plan of attack. Computer analysts say Stuxnet does its damage by making quick changes in the rotational speed of motors, shifting them rapidly up and down.
Changing the speed “sabotages the normal operation of the industrial control process,” Eric Chien, a researcher at the computer security company Symantec, wrote in a blog post.
Those fluctuations, nuclear analysts said in response to the report, are a recipe for disaster among the thousands of centrifuges spinning in Iran to enrich uranium, which can fuel reactors or bombs. Rapid changes can cause them to blow apart. Reports issued by international inspectors reveal that Iran has experienced many problems keeping its centrifuges running, with hundreds removed from active service since summer 2009.
Intelligence officials have said they believe that a series of covert programs are responsible for at least some of that decline. So when Iran reported earlier this year that it was battling the Stuxnet worm, many experts immediately suspected that it was a state-sponsored cyberattack. Until last week, analysts had said only that Stuxnet was designed to infect certain kinds of Siemens equipment used in a wide variety of industrial sites around the world.
But a study released Friday by Mr. Chien, Nicolas Falliere and Liam O. Murchu at Symantec, concluded that the program’s real target was to take over frequency converters, a type of power supply that changes its output frequency to control the speed of a motor.
The latest evidence does not prove Iran was the target, and there have been no confirmed reports of industrial damage linked to Stuxnet. Converters are used to control a number of different machines, including lathes, saws and turbines, and they can be found in gas pipelines and chemical plants. But converters are also essential for nuclear centrifuges.Meanwhile, the search for other clues in the Stuxnet program continues — and so do the theories about its origins.
Ralph Langner, a German expert in industrial control systems who has examined the program and who was the first to suggest that the Stuxnet worm may have been aimed at Iran, noted in late September that a file inside the code was named “Myrtus.” That could be read as an allusion to Esther, and he and others speculated it was a reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.

Stuxnet virus could target many industries

November 17, 2010 By LOLITA C. BALDOR , Associated Press 
(AP) -- A malicious computer attack that appears to target Iran's nuclear plants can be modified to wreak havoc on industrial control systems around the world, and represents the most dire cyberthreat known to industry, government officials and experts said Wednesday.
They warned that industries are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the so-called Stuxnet worm as they merge networks and computer systems to increase efficiency. The growing danger, said lawmakers, makes it imperative that Congress move on legislation that would expand government controls and set requirements to make systems safer.
The complex code is not only able to infiltrate and take over systems that control manufacturing and other critical operations, but it has even more sophisticated abilities to silently steal sensitive intellectual property data, experts said.
Dean Turner, director of the Global Intelligence Network at Symantec Corp., told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the "real-world implications of Stuxnet are beyond any threat we have seen in the past."
Analysts and government officials told the senators they remain unable to determine who launched the attack. But the design and performance of the code, and that the bulk of the attacks were in Iran, have fueled speculation that it targeted Iranian nuclear facilities.
Turner said there were 44,000 unique Stuxnet computer infections worldwide through last week, and 1,600 in the United States. Sixty percent of the infections were in Iran, including several employees' laptops at the Bushehr nuclear plant.
Iran has said it believes Stuxnet is part of a Western plot to sabotage its nuclear program, but experts see few signs of major damage at Iranian facilities.
A senior government official warned Wednesday that attackers can use information made public about the Stuxnet worm to develop variations targeting other industries, affecting the production of everything from chemicals to baby formula.
"This code can automatically enter a system, steal the formula for the product you are manufacturing, alter the ingredients being mixed in your product and indicate to the operator and your antivirus software that everything is functioning as expected," said Sean McGurk, acting director of Homeland Security's national cybersecurity operations center.
Stuxnet specifically targets businesses that use Windows operating software and a control system designed by Siemens AG. That combination, said McGurk, is used in many critical sectors, from automobile assembly to mixing products such as chemicals.
Turner added that the code's highly sophisticated structure and techniques also could mean that it is a one-in-a-decade occurrence. The virus is so complex and costly to develop "that a select few attackers would be capable of producing a similar threat," he said.
Experts said governments and industries can do much more to protect critical systems.

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