Stuxnet Virus

1181 Words Nov 24th, 2013 5 Pages
Stuxnet Virus
According to counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, Stuxnet was a weaponized malware computer worm. Stuxnet was launched in mid-2009, it did major damage to Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 and then spread to computers all over the world (Clarke, 2012).
Type of Breach
The Stuxnet is a computer worm, “it is a digital ghost with countless lines of code… it was able to worm its way into Iran’s nuclear fuel enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran” (Clarke, 2012). A worm is a program that spreads copies of itself through a network and a worm can also spread copies of itself as a stand-alone program (Pfleeger & Pfleeger, 2007).
How the Breach Occurred
On June 17, 2010, Sergey Ulasen, head of a small computer security firm called
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VirusBlokAda reported the vulnerability to Microsoft and Microsoft named the malware Stuxnet from a combination of file names (.stub and MrxNet.sys) found in the code (Zetter, 2011). One of the Stuxnet’s driver files used a valid signed certificate stolen from RealTek Semiconductor, a hardware maker in Taiwan, in order to trick the systems into thinking the malware was a trusted program from RealTek (Zetter, 2011). Internet authorities quickly revoked the certificate. But another Stuxnet driver was found using a second certificate; this new certificate was stolen from “JMicron Technology, a circuit maker in Taiwan that was — coincidentally or not – headquartered in the same business park as RealTek” (Zetter, 2011).
The experts said that the virus was designed to target Simatic WinCC Step7 software; which is an industrial control system made by the German conglomerate Siemens. The system was used to program controllers that drive motors, valves and switches in everything from food factories and automobile assembly lines to gas pipelines and water treatment plants (Zetter, 2011). This happens to be the same software that was used at Natanz facility. The Stuxnet virus looked for industrial control systems and then altered the code in them to allow the attackers to take control of these systems without the operators knowing (The Stuxnet Worm: Symantec). In other words, the Stuxnet worm was designed to allow hackers to manipulate real-world equipment, which makes the

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