Stuxnet is the first computer virus (precisely a “worm”) created to target, study, infect and subvert only industrial systems, namely Siemens’.
Having discriminately attacked five Iranian organizations, with the probable target widely suspected to be uranium enrichment infrastructure in Iran (centrifuges), Stuxnet has been considered the first weapon consisting entirely of code.
Unlike most viruses, Stuxnet rests silent until he finds Siemens software inside a Windows system and exploits four different zero-day attacks (previously unknown vulnerabilities of computer applications), it only attacks specific systems, contains safeguards to prevent each infected computer from spreading the worm to more than three others, and is configured to erase itself on 24 June 2012.
The great complexity of the worm has caused much speculation over the possible perpetrators: very probably the virus has been conceived with the support of a nation state and it has been speculated that Israel and the United States may have been involved; on 1 June 2012, the NYTimes got a little further, explaining that Stuxnet is part of a U.S. and Israeli intelligence operation called “Operation Olympic Games“, started under President George W. Bush and expanded under President Barack Obama. Iran responded with an open call for hackers willing to participate in the Iranian revolution, by involving themselves in the first nation-wide war fought through code.
In fact the virus is believed to be one of the largiest and costliest development in malware history, involving a team of people to program, in-depth knowledge of industrial processes, and an interest in attacking industrial infrastructure: Symantec estimates that the group developing Stuxnet would have consisted of anywhere from five to thirty people, and would have taken six months to prepare. Two websites in Denmark and Malaysia were configured as command and control servers for the malware, allowing it to be updated, and for industrial espionage to be conducted by uploading information. (Wiki)
Following is the infographic video “Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Virus“
Direction and Motion Graphics: Patrick Clair patrickclair.com
Written by: Scott Mitchell