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Anonymous hacktivists: We've got Stuxnet code

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A member of Anonymous claims to have taken possession of code for the infamous Stuxnet virus.

Topiary, an online activist affiliated with the 4-chan-spawned internet coalition, claimed on Twitter to have gained possession of the malware. He said: "Anonymous is now in possession of Stuxnet – problem, officer?"

Anonymous claims to have lifted the source code during a high-profile hack against HBGary, a security consultancy that was trying to identify senior members of the group. HBGary's email database was siphoned off and posted as a torrent during the same attack.

Later, another Twitter account affiliated with Anonymous posted links to what purported to be a partial decompile of Stuxnet.

Even if Anonymous had possession of the Stuxnet source code, it's doubtful they would be either able or motivated to do anything with it. The highly complex code might be adapted to attack other industrial control systems, at least in theory, but that hardly fits with anything Anonymous has done in the past.

Stuxnet is blamed for setting Iran's nuclear program back by months if not years after it infected the industrial control systems at its nuclear facilities, causing high-speed centrifuges to speed up and slow down abnormally and thereby causing high failure rates. The sophisticated and highly-targeted malware is widely rumoured to be the fruit of a joint US-Israeli operation.

Security watchers are sceptical about the claim that Anonymous actually has the Stuxnet source code. Snorre Fagerland, a senior threat researcher at Norman, writes in a Twitter update: "Anonymous only have Stuxnet binaries and disassembly. Not the original source." ®

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