Feeds

Stuxnet blitzed 5 Iranian factories over 10-month period

12,000 separate infections

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Stuxnet worm repeatedly attacked five industrial plants inside Iran over a 10-month period, according to new data collected by researchers from antivirus firm Symantec.

Three of the undisclosed organizations were targeted once, one was hit twice and one was targeted three times, members of Symantec's Security Response Team wrote in the report (PDF), which updates findings first released in September. The attacks took place in 12,000 separate infections in 2009 and 2010 and weren't discovered until July.

The new information was collected by researchers who monitored data recorded by Stuxnet itself. Attackers programmed the worm to store the location and type of each computer infected, most likely so the programmers would know when they successfully reached their intended target. Researchers have speculated that the malware was designed by Israel, the US, or another enemy of Iran that wanted to disrupt that country's nuclear ambitions.

The Symantec researchers said Stuxnet used two different techniques to sabotage centrifuge arrays, but that one, known as the 417 code, had been disabled. The worm first infected Windows-based industrial-control systems while it searched for software made by Siemens Corporation that monitors critical factory operations.

The researchers discovered three or possibly four versions of Stuxnet. The first was completed just 12 hours before the first successful infection in June 2009. They guess that it was the result of an malware-tainted email that was opened, or a booby-trapped USB device that was connected to a computer.

More from Symantec and The New York Times are here and here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Apple grapple: Congress kills FBI's Cupertino crypto kybosh plan
Encryption would lead us all into a 'dark place', claim G-Men
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.