I’m sure over the past year you may have accidentally stumbled across the word Stuxnet, it is technically a simple computer virus that has started infecting Microsoft Windows computers since July 2010, I too heard some reports of the virus, but as usual shrugged it aside as just another scare, little did I worry any any further until I heard Ralph Langner speak about it at TED 2011 Cracking Stuxnet, a 21st-century cyber weapon. Only recently after reading a blog post by Amit Agarwal who shared an animated documentary on the Stuxnet Virus prepared by ABC1 Australia on Jun 8th 2011, that made me realize the implications of this mere virus to have the devastation power of becoming a Cyber Weapon of Mass Destruction, im not talking sci-fi, this weapon is being used, carried around on hundreds, thousands and millions of USB’s with the potential force of causing a meltdown in any [or possibly a certain series] of nuclear power plant around the globe.
Lets start with a brief explanation – Stuxnet is a Windows worm virus spreading via USB drives once inside an organization, it self propagates by copying itself to network shares and other USB drives for further infection once it infects the system it hides itself with a rootkit and sees if the infected computer is connected to a Siemens Simatic (Step7) factory system and sends particular commands to modify PLC (Programmable Logic Controllers, i.e. the boxes that actually control the machinery) [centrifuges in nuclear power plants]
Take a moment to watch the animated documentary prepared by Australia ABC1 uploaded on Youtube on 8th June 2011