Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stuxnet, perhaps the greatest computer virus ever..

How many times yor computer has been infected by a virus that has shut down all your current applications? Perhaps rebooted your system? Even erased your hard drive? And you thought that this is a hardcore virus for computers? Think again....

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus from Patrick Clair on Vimeo.

Ever heard of Stuxnet? Perhaps no. Stuxnet is a complex computer virus discovered in 2008 that has been designed to strike against industrial plants, software and equipment. Imagine a virous that is able to shout down oil pipelines, power plants and even nuclear reactors! To be accurate, as you can see below on the virous' history, uranium enrichment facilities where a prime target for Stuxnet.

The malware has a very sophisticated function that makes it so efficient; it spreads through a network to seperate working stations but does not activate unless the system meets certain requirements. For example, Stuxnet might have intruded your PC as well but would not have activated since its software was designed to attack special features of mostly industrial plants.

The origins and the creator of the virus vary according to different evaluations regarding the history of the software:

The specific malware has been detected in 58,85% of Iran computers according to a Symantec study. There have been different rumors that Stuxnet's original use was targeted in nuclear plants of Iran. And it is fact that Stuxnet has created a lot of discomfort in Iran, with Iranian officials announcing that there has been an electronic war launched against their country.Some say that Israel was behind the making f the virous, other claim that it was the US, others put the credit on Mosad etc. One thing is certain regarding the manufacturing of the virus: it wild require a great deal of suport for its designing, such suport that only a large organisation (a country's government for example) would be able to provide.

Of course, defensive mechanism and detection programms now have been developed and Stuxnet can be removed from a computer in case of infection. But the ability of the worm to mutate has made matters more complicated, creating doubts to the certainty of the virous succesful removal.

The interesting fact about this virous is that now Stuxnet is provided as a freeware on the Internet!

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