Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Eliminate costly downtime!
Find out how with Free White Paper
& enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Network Security
Next Generation Data Center Is Here!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Stuxnet Discovered To Contain Two Stealth Weapons
Stuxnet Discovered To Contain Two Stealth Weapons

By Jennifer LeClaire
November 21, 2013 1:52PM

    Bookmark and Share
“I would use the rough analogy that instead of cutting someone's brakes, you're making the accelerator stick,” he said. “This kind of action is a paradigm shift from most of the exploits that we see which typically try to break something. Anyone with a thorough understanding of the target can potentially use it against itself.”
 

Related Topics

Malware
Security
Virus
Worm



The Stuxnet virus that damaged Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility was worse than we thought. In fact, Ralph Langner, a cyber security expert, described it as “far more dangerous than the cyberweapon that is now lodged in the public’s imagination.”

Claimed by some to be a joint project between the U.S. and Israel, Stuxnet garnered worldwide attention when it destroyed about a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. But according to Langner the story behind the story is that Stuxnet is not really one weapon, but there exist two versions of the virus.

“The vast majority of the attention has been paid to Stuxnet's smaller and simpler attack routine -- the one that changes the speeds of the rotors in a centrifuge, which is used to enrich uranium,” Langner wrote in Foreign Policy magazine. “But the [older version of Stuxnet] is about an order of magnitude more complex and stealthy.”

An Opening Salvo

It is now known that in 2007, an older version of Stuxnet, dubbed Stuxnet Mark I, targeted the gas valves in the Iranian nuclear reactor. By contrast, the second version of Stuxnet, which was reported in 2010, targeted the reactors' cores.

According to Langner, the first and largely forgotten version of the virus qualifies as nightmare for those who understand industrial control system security. And strangely, he said, this more sophisticated attack came first while the more familiar routine followed only years later -- and was discovered in comparatively short order.

We caught up with John Shier, a senior security advisor at Sophos, to get his reaction to the report. He told us Langner talks about Stuxnet as being the opening salvo in cyberwar -- and he couldn't agree more. While technology has been used in the past as part of larger and more traditional military campaigns, he said, Stuxnet is the most successful, purpose-built cyber weapon that we know of. And it also won't be the last.

“Whatever the reason for its eventual spread -- Langner posits this is due in part to contractors working at different customers and 'manually' spreading the malware versus exhibiting worm-like behaviour -- Stuxnet had some very serious unintended consequences, namely: Duqu and Flame,” Shier said. “Once the Stuxnet code was 'in the wild', portions of it became further weaponized and used to spawn new malware families targeting non-political assets. We don't need this kind of help from our own side.”

A Scary Proposition

Shier noted another interesting point from the report -- Stuxnet didn't necessarily exploit vulnerabilities so much as features. As he sees it, this is a scary proposition insofar as the weapon didn't rely entirely on novel discoveries but turned the system on itself.

“I would use the rough analogy that instead of cutting someone's brakes, you're making the accelerator stick,” he said. “This kind of action is a paradigm shift from most of the exploits that we see which typically try to break something. Anyone with a thorough understanding of the target can potentially use it against itself.”

Overall, Shier said, the report provides interesting insight into one of the most publicized cyber weapons to date. He said he thinks the conclusion that Stuxnet has given de facto 'permission' and motivation for other nation states to attempt their own version isn't entirely unfounded.

“I also think that it provided many nation states with a handy blueprint on how to do it well,” Shier said. “Whatever the long term impact, Stuxnet will always be remembered as a turning point in what was to be an eventual progression of the militarization of technology.”
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Rohit Chatterjee:

Posted: 2013-11-24 @ 7:57pm PT
It makes the system turn on itself? By accelerating existing operations? Sounds like a cancer.



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Network Security
1.   Retailers Hacked by New Malware
2.   IBM Beefs Up Identity Intelligence
3.   USB Security Flaw Uncovered
4.   Tor Internet Privacy Service Breached
5.   Canada Says China Hacked Gov't


advertisement
IBM Beefs Up Identity Intelligence
To offer biz better security products.
Average Rating:
Tor Internet Privacy Service Breached
Users should assume they're affected.
Average Rating:
Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
Bug reportedly reveals ID of users
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
New 'Backoff' Malware Slips Undetected into Retail Systems
'Malicious actors' are using a new variety of malware to access consumer payment data remotely through point-of-sale systems, according to a report from the Department of Homeland Security.
 
IBM Beefs Up Identity Intelligence Security Solutions
Big Blue is betting big on identity intelligence. IBM just acquired a private firm with security software to govern user access to apps and data across cloud and on-premise environments.
 
USB Security Flaw Lets Hackers Hijack PCs
Hackers can use the firmware that controls USB functions to take control of computers, say security experts. That means there may be a new class of attack for which there are no defenses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
AMD's ARM-Based Opteron Out in $3K Dev Kit
It's dubbed "Seattle" and it's AMD's first 64-bit ARM-based Opteron processor. The low-power chip is being released as part of AMD’s Opteron A1100-series developer kit, and aimed at high-end data center needs.
 
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Dell, BlackBerry Not Sweating Apple-IBM Alliance
IBM's recent move to partner with Apple to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both companies, but two rivals say they are unperturbed for now.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
BlackBerry Messenger Now Available on Windows Phone
BlackBerry's free Messenger chatting and voice app is out of beta and widely available for Windows Phone users, the company said. BBM offers secure messaging, Groups, Voice, Channels and more.
 
Virgin Mobile Offers Custom Smartphone Plans
As the wireless carrier wars continue heating up, Virgin Mobile just threw the customization coal onto the fire. The firm has debuted a no-annual-contract plan with rates based on individual use.
 
Collaboration Provider Asana Revamps Mobile App
Asana, a collaboration software provider started by a Facebook founder, is now out with a rebuilt native iOS mobile app. It replaces one that even the company admits was not up to par.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.