New Super Worm Attacks Infrastructure September 25, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Technology.
Tags: Cybercrime, Hackers, Industrial Espionage, Iran, Virus
Stuxnet works by exploiting previously unknown security holes in Microsoft’s Windows operating system. It then seeks out a component called Simatic WinCC, manufactured by Siemens, which controls critical factory operations. The malware even uses a stolen cryptographic key belonging to the Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer RealTek to validate itself in high-security factory systems.
The worm then takes over the computer running the factory process – which for WinCC would be “mission-critical” systems which have to keep functioning under any circumstance – and “blocks” it for up to a tenth of a second. For high-speed systems, such as the centrifuges used for nuclear fuel processing being done by Iran, that could be disastrous, experts suggested.
“This is a very sophisticated attack – the first of its kind – and has clearly been developed by a highly skilled group of people intent on gaining access to SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition] systems – industrial control systems for monitoring and managing industrial infrastructure or facility-based processes. In contrast to the bulk of indiscriminate cybercrime threats on the internet, this has been aimed at very specific targets. It’s different also because there’s no obvious financial motivation behind the attack – rather the aim seems to be to sabotage systems.”