Michael Wojcik on Sun, 26 Sep 2010 10:15:12 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Stuxnet malware is 'weapon' out to destroy ... Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant? The Christian Science Monitor

On 2010-09-23 07:33, Michael Gurstein wrote:
> The appearance of Stuxnet created a ripple of amazement among computer
> security experts. Too large, too encrypted, too complex to be immediately
> understood, it employed amazing new tricks, like taking control of a
> computer system without the user taking any action or clicking any button
> other than inserting an infected memory stick.

And how is that new?

> Experts say it took a massive
> expenditure of time, money, and software engineering talent to identify and
> exploit such vulnerabilities in industrial control software systems.

Also not new. Consider the worm that attacked one of the Japanese
participants in the Internet Auditing Project back in 1999.[1] If you
believe Liraz Siri (and I don't offhand see any reason not to),
someone was putting serious resources into developing very
sophisticated malware and using it to probe machines engaged in
"suspicious" activity at least 11 years ago.

And security people have been talking more or less incessantly about
vulnerabilities in SCADA systems at least since the Northeast (US)
Blackout of 2003, which sparked the predictable nattering about
cyber-terrorists attacking infrastructure.

Stuxnet might have been produced by a government agency - from any
government with the resources. (OK, probably not Iran's.) Or it might
have come from some other group, or even from a really dedicated
individual. Lots of folks create malware, and lots more deploy it.
Attacks get more sophisticated over time. We know all of this already.

[1] See http://www.viacorp.com/auditing.html. Search for "= they're
heeeere..." if you want to skip to the relevant part.

Michael Wojcik
Micro Focus
Rhetoric & Writing, Michigan State University

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