Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Stuxnet worm planted on Iranian PCs via USB stick, site claims

Quotes anonymous sources

Article comments

The Stuxnet malware was not only designed to disrupt Iran’s nuclear programme it was part of a wider campaign directed from Israel that included the assassination of the country’s nuclear scientists, it has been claimed.

The source for the latest explanation of Stuxnet’s mysterious provenance is online title ISS Source, which cites having received information from unnamed individuals “who requested anonymity because of their close proximity to investigations.”

The source told the site that an Iranian agent infected Iranian systems at the Natanz nuclear facility with the Stuxnet malware directly using a USB stick. The malware exploited a raft of zero-day vulnerabilities to attack SCADA software.  

The individual carrying out the attack could have been part of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) group, which was connected to the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists in the last three years, US sources said.

“Stuxnet was a comprehensive US-Israeli program designed to disrupt Iran’s nuclear technology. This joint program first surfaced in 2009 and worked in concert with an earlier US effort that consistently sabotaged Iran’s purchasing network abroad,” the article reported.

The genesis of the Stuxnet concept could stretch as far back as efforts to attack Iraq with old-fashioned viruses in the early 1990s.

If the story has a seam of truth (and there will be plenty of sceptics it is worth pointing out) it is dynamite; if it is untrue, it will add to the mythic status of a piece of malware that has been widely assumed to be state-sponsored since it became apparent that it targeted industrial systems.

The story raises questions of its own. Why use a worm at all when the attack was targeted enough to be distributed using a USB stick? The worm method is designed to spread, something which by its nature draws attention. This seems like unnecessary overkill for a direct infection.  

The involvement of Israel and the US is easy to state – they would have a clear motivation and the capability to craft malware of Stuxnet’s sophistication – but probably impossible to prove.

Russia recently pinned the blame on the US and Israel, and at least one US expert, John Bumgarner, has even connected Stuxnet to Conficker partly based on its activation date, 1 April 2009 (The Iranian Republic’s 30th anniversary).

What is likely is that Stuxnet attacked targets industrial around the world possibly as long as a year before it was discovered in 2010. It has since been connected to a second piece of malware, Duqu, which is also known to have had some success infecting computers in Iran.



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *