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The potential for Stuxnet computer worm to attack nuclear centrifuges

Forensic experts dissecting the worm found that it was calibrated in a way that could send nuclear centrifuges “wildly out of control.”…..one thing is clear: Stuxnet is a worrying escalation in cyber attacks.

A dangerous new level in malware, Pittsburg Post Gazette, TechMan:  2 Dec 10, Malicious software turned a dangerous corner recently with Stuxnet, a computer worm that attacks the control systems for things like nuclear power plants and electrical grids…………..

“Stuxnet has highlighted that direct attacks to control critical infrastructure are possible and not necessarily spy-novel fictions. The real-world implications of Stuxnet are beyond any threat we have seen in the past,” Dean Turner of the Symantec security firm told the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The first target seems to have been Iran, which has admitted to malware in its nuclear facilities, but said it was confined to employee laptops.

The New York Times reported last week that forensic experts dissecting the worm found that it was calibrated in a way that could send nuclear centrifuges “wildly out of control.” Iran is spinning thousands of centrifuges to try to produce enriched uranium, which can be used for either nuclear fuel or a bomb. The forensics work found that Stuxnet takes over the power supply that controls the speed of a motor……….

Despite these unanswered questions, one thing is clear: Stuxnet is a worrying escalation in cyber attacks. Now that a software assault on industrial sites has been demonstrated, others may follow.

“Proliferation is a real problem, and no country is prepared to deal with it,” Melissa Hathaway, a former U.S. national cybersecurity coordinator, told The New York Times.

The worm has set off alarms among industrial control specialists, she said: “All of these guys are scared to death. We have about 90 days to fix this before some hacker begins using it.”

Security tip: Malware often must run a program to infect your computer. If you see an e-mail attachment ending in .exe that you are not expecting, it could be a rogue program. Do not click on it. Delete it.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10332/1106386-96.stm#ixzz16sHcOVxf

TechMan: A dangerous new level in malware

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December 2, 2010 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | , , , , , ,

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