Stuxnet has been a major topic of conversation among Internet security and malware researchers, and for good reason. This new form of malware is designed to attack a physical entity, such as a power plant or nuclear reactor and cause it to destroy itself. And if that wasn’t alarming enough, this form of malware can be tailored to target a specific system for customized destruction.
Computer and security experts are completely dumbfounded because they have no idea who designed the worm or what it’s supposed to destroy.
Judging by how sophisticated the worm is, experts think that it was designed by a very capable hacker; possibly even a team of hackers commissioned on a national level. The worm has four never before seen Windows exploits that gives it total access to any Windows based system and a peer-to-peer update function that lets the virus update itself to newer versions by communicating with other infected machines. The worm is even smart enough to target a specific system, and search for specific systems that match its parameters: think search and destroy.
“It’s looking for specific things in specific places in these PLC devices. And that would really mean that it’s designed to look for a specific plant,” said Dale Peterson, CEO of Digital Bond.
Many security researchers think that it would take the resources of a nation state and a team of highly trained hackers and computer experts to accomplish a worm this sophisticated.
However, now that this software was created and released, it creates a huge scare for the cyber security world. Not only because this particular worm can cause serious harm, but also because security experts believe that other hackers will try and follow its template to attack physical targets, which is something never done before on such a large scale.