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Stuxnet


okiwan
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Stuxnet is not just another worm, or cybercrime toolkit. It is perhaps the most sophisticated industrial sabotage tool to emerge so far. The good news? This does not infect your home or office PC. The bad news: It is directed to take control of complete industrial plants and systems.

This has been a busy summer and looks to be an even a busier fall for malware and threat analysts. The Stuxnet worm has got all manner of us experts involved in analyzing its deepest and darkest orifices. Having examined the worm, on the one hand it is difficult not to admire the way it has been engineered and project managed; on the other hand, we are dismayed at the range of its capabilities.

“Stuxnet was undoubtedly created by professionals who’ve got a thorough grasp of antivirus technologies and their weaknesses,” stated Aleks, a Kaspersky Lab Expert and one of the main researchers, in his incident write-up this week.

In one sense, the arrival and potential consequences of Stuxnet -- or something similar to it -- has been anticipated hypothetically for some time, but its arrival brings a sobering reality: industrial espionage on a level that could make the Clearwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf look like a minor incident.

So what makes Stuxnet so special? Well, this is highly selective and targeted. It can be installed on a PC without any effect. Only when the PC is using WinCC (Windows Control Center, a PC-based process visualization system) and Siemens SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Visualization System) and connected to industrial PLCs (programmable logic controllers), does it go to work. It is structured to control all manner of industrial plants, energy complexes, critical infrastructures, and numerous other processes run from such an operating system.

Actually, this kind of vulnerability is old news that was first reported by Cisco and patched back in July. What makes Stuxnet so special is the multiple vulnerabilities that it exploits. As a Kaspersky Lab announcement states: “This makes Stuxnet truly unique: it is the first threat we have encountered that contains this many surprises in a single package.”

Among the vulnerabilities recently patched on September 14 is the Windows Print Spooler Service Impersonation Vulnerability that can send malicious code via a printer, either shared-access or networked. Still awaiting correction are two “Elevation of Privilege” vulnerabilities.

So who is behind Stuxnet? It is clearly not targeting financial institutions, or hapless PC users, so a quick grab-and-run is not the intention. Back in July, Symantec reported that nearly 60 percent of Stuxnet attacks were found in Iran. So intelligence gathering and industrial sabotage are its most likely aims -- taking into account the use of stolen trusted Realtek and Jmicron digital certificates.

Quite clearly, the ongoing system problems Iran is having with bringing online the Bushehr nuclear power plant help to provide a few pointers.

While many could be tempted to feel reassured that this is only targeting one country’s industrial infrastructure, Stuxnet has now infected between 90,000 and 100,000 systems worldwide. Initially, back in July, Siemens reported just two cases where SCADA systems (i.e., complete plants) were infected. Currently, 15 have been detected, and so far it would appear that no critical infrastructure or production industry has been infected.

Such infected industrial plants are now also in Korea, the US, and the UK. Just as a reality check: When compared with Conficker, which infected millions of PC systems, 15 infected SCADA-based processing plants does not sound like much to concern us. But to help visualize the potential scale -- and without wanting to be alarmist -- just consider: That could be 15 Clearwater Horizon Gulf operations, 15 New York subway systems, 15 Three Mile Islands, or 15 Chernobyls.

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Computer worms are something that truly catches my attention. I've always been so fascinated and amazed about them. Their techniques, methods, payloads and ways of infiltrating into a system and most importantly the ability to remain undetected in some cases.

As each day passes and the technology progresses on its pace, worms are getting clever and becoming more and more sophisticated to a level that one day they will have their own artificial intelligence.

Now that's scary.

Edited by Infiltrator
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Programs are only as smart as the coder.

That is true, artificial intelligence is still a long way off to come, but it could come true eventually.

Edited by Infiltrator
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seriously i hope AI is never invented. at least while im around. the day it does become public, im going to start stocking up on EMP bombs.

You will need a vast amount of electricity to generate a powerful enough EMP wave that can knock out devices on a large or mid scale.

Its feasible... Good luck!!!

Edited by Infiltrator
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well by the time we have AI, technology for an EMP might advance too.

I would take a guess and say that the Department of Defense in the USA already has a prototype built for blasting electronics in a small confined area.

Its just a matter of time, until it gets advanced and powerful enough.

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im sure they do. you can see on youtube they have large ones that can shut down a car. an people at home build small ones that can fry small electronics. im sure theres a medium out there some where. i just haven't seen it yet.

I just watched a Future Weapons video on Youtube, that had an EMP device assembled somewhere in a desert within the United States. As a demonstration, this guy flew a remote controlled helicopter into the EMP device just as it was coming online and the helicopter just dropped out of the SKY.

After I finished watching the video, I realize how integrated our lives are with the technology, and how much we depend on it to live and to do our jobs. And if an E-Bomb were to be dropped off, we wouldn't be able to get on with out lives.

Now this is totally serious. And I also remember when NY City lost its main power to the whole city, the people were just lost and helpless. Technology is wonderful thing, and it can help us in many aspect of our lives but it can also greatly affect us all.

Edited by Infiltrator
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I just watched a Future Weapons video on Youtube, that had an EMP device assembled somewhere in a desert within the United States. As a demonstration, this guy flew a remote controlled helicopter into the EMP device just as it was coming online and the helicopter just dropped out of the SKY.

After I finished watching the video, I realize how integrated our lives are with the technology, and how much we depend on it to live and to do our jobs. And if an E-Bomb were to be dropped off, we wouldn't be able to get on with out lives.

Now this is totally serious. And I also remember when NY City lost its main power to the whole city, the people were just lost and helpless. Technology is wonderful thing, and it can help us in many aspect of our lives but it can also greatly affect us all.

ya thats one of the ones i watched. in the 2nd part of the video he drives the car through it, and it shuts down. whats crazy is that it literally fries every thing. its permanent. an EMP basically creates allot of garbage.

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Don't worry, AI as the lay-person thinks of it is not possible ie a purely digital mechanism cannot become conscious.

Ref: Roger Penrose's "The Emperors new mind"

:blink:

I may be no expert in AI, but I do believe it may come real one day.

Look at how the technology is processing nowadays.

Look at the robots engineered in Japan, they can walk by themselves

So it may not be possible now, but it could happen in the future.

I may be the lay-person as you suggested, but I know my shit.

Edited by Infiltrator
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I want the scada worm :) I'll work day and night to reverse engineer it. Figure out how to use it then I'll have my own personal Cyber Nuke Arsenal. I'll use it to declare war against the U.S. The U.S. most likely going to break up within the next 80 years, if not sooner, any way.

I shouldn't have to move for anyone! I'm staking my own piece out on the west coast and declaring my own country. I have the arsenal to back it up!

Hmmm, perhaps too much tequila.

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Does anyone think a western government is involved? like Iran claims.

Could be possible, but you never know. The media is always fucking with the peoples mind.

Making you believe shit, that may not even be true. I hate the media, they sicken me.

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