Feeds

SCADA worm a 'nation state search-and-destroy weapon'

With giant bullseye on Iran nukes

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A highly sophisticated computer worm that has burrowed into industrial systems worldwide over the past year may have been a “search-and-destroy weapon” built to take out Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor, according to news reports published on Tuesday.

The articles from IDG News and The Christian Science Monitor said the Stuxnet worm was programmed to probe the hosts it infected for extremely specific settings. Unless it identified the hardware fingerprint it was looking for in industrial software systems made by Siemens, it remained largely dormant.

It was only after a unique configuration on a Programmable Logic Controller device was detected that Stuxnet took action. Under those circumstances, the worm made changes to a piece of Siemens code called Operational Block 35, which monitors critical factory operations, according to IDG, which cited Eric Byres, CTO of a firm called Byres Security.

IDG reported: “By messing with Operational Block 35, Stuxnet could easily cause a refinery's centrifuge to malfunction, but it could be used to hit other targets too, Byres said.”

“Stuxnet is essentially a precision, military-grade cyber missile deployed early last year to seek out and destroy one real-world target of high importance – a target still unknown,” The Christian Science Monitor said. It went on to say that the digital fingerprinting capability “shows Stuxnet to be not spyware, but rather attackware meant to destroy.”

Both reports said the sophistication of Stuxnet suggests Israel or some other nation state is behind the worm and both articles cited speculation by Langner that the intended target may have been Iran's Bushehr reactor, located about 750 miles from Tehran, that is under construction. The project faced reported delays around the same time Stuxnet is believed to have propagated, and the plant is believed to use the Windows-based Siemens software targeted in the attacks, IDG said.

The Christian Science Monitor said Stuxnet may already have exacted damage on Bushehr and noted the facility's expected opening in late August has been delayed for unknown reasons. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?