Feeds

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

With giant bullseye on Iran nukes

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.