Stuxnet: The most advanced computer worm.


In a recent blog we discussed different types of security threats that business can be exposed to via the cyber world.  Hackers can access and steal vital information through a number of clever ploys and ingenious tricks.  Computer users need to be on the highest alert when solicited online for information, whether they trust the source or not.  Today we are going to examine an example of just how powerful a computer worm can be.  The most advanced worm ever created by man is a sophisticated piece of software, so far above my head that I can’t even do its description justice, named Stuxnet.

Stuxnet was discovered in the summer of 2010.  It specifically targeted Seimens (a German software corporation) industrial software.  The virus was principally spread through Microsoft Windows.  It was the first computer virus to ever access industrial systems and destroy them.  The makers of Stuxnet are unknown, but their target was very apparent.  Stuxnet was created to target and destroy Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities. Stuxnet spread through industrial systems worldwide, but 60 percent of the infected computers were Iranian.  The payload delivered by Stuxnet was specifically designed to harm none of the computers it affected except for its designated target.  According to the Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus video, Stuxnet succeeded in overheating the Iranian centrifuges, all the while causing the computers that monitor the centrifuges to display normal readings.  The virus temporarily shut down over 1000 of 5000 centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment facility.

Clearly you do not need to worry about your nuclear centrifuges overheating, and you probably are not worried about the integrity of your industrial software systems, but unfortunately the Stuxnet Malware program did not end in Iran.  A problem with the code allowed the virus to replicate beyond just the enrichment center.  The virus soon spread past its creators’ original target.  The worm was discovered by other hackers who were able to reconfigure Stuxnet for their own underhanded purposes.  Eventually the source code for Stuxnet was uploaded to the internet for any amateur hacker with sufficient knowledge to play with.  Several iterations of Stuxnet have mutated to forms different from the original, with different targets, but the same advanced programming and capabilities.  Stuxnet has now gone viral.

Stuxnet has opened up a whole new form of sabotage.  Now, hackers can, not only affect computers, but also industrial systems and processes.  In our increasingly connected world, Stuxnet and the new generation of viruses are a huge problem.  Companies are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than ever.  Protect your information and your company.  Definitely back up your physical documents digitally, but remember that even those documents are vulnerable.  If you do not know what to do about security, talk to Tarheel Imaging and Microfilming.  We are experts at document protection.  We can safely storehouse your data through a number of our services.  We will keep your information safe from fire, water, theft, or destruction.  One of Tarheel Imaging’s main services is microfilming.  Microfilm is an excellent way to protect information from hackers, from damage, and from becoming obsolete.  Microfilm lasts for thousands of years, it is unconnected to the internet, and it is readable without the help of technology.  Be smart about security, microfilm with Tarheel Imaging.