Thursday, March 22, 2012

15 minute Video: Stuxnet: Computer worm opens new era of warfare

Stuxnet took the world by storm two years ago

Computer virus's evident success in damaging Iran's nuclear facility has officials asking if our own infrastructure is safe.

The worm was different from previous viruses: it wasn't designed to steal money, identities, or passwords. Instead, the malware targeted the controls at industrial facilities such as power plants, inspiring talk of a top secret, government-sponsored cyberwar.

At the time of its discovery in June 2010, the assumption was that espionage lay behind the effort, but subsequent analysis uncovered the ability of the malware to control plant operations outright--specifically an Iranian nuclear facility.

In addition to showing that a cyberattack could cause significant physical damage to a facility, it also raised concerns that future malware, modeled after Stuxnet, could target critical infrastructure, such as power and water-treatment plants in the United States.

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