Stuxnet : A new type of Cyber warfare

The Economist reports:
“IT SOUNDS like the plot of an airport thriller or a James Bond film. A crack team of experts, assembled by a shadowy government agency, develops a cyber-weapon designed to shut down a rogue country’s nuclear programme. The software uses previously unknown tricks to worm its way into industrial control systems undetected, searching for a particular configuration that matches its target—at which point it wreaks havoc by reprogramming the system, closing valves and shutting down pipelines.

This is not fiction, but fact. A new software “worm” called Stuxnet (its name is derived from keywords buried in the code) seems to have been developed to attack a specific nuclear facility in Iran. Its sophistication suggests that it is the work of a well-financed team working for a government, rather than a group of rogue hackers trying to steal secrets or cause trouble. America and Israel are the obvious suspects. But Stuxnet’s origins and effects are unknown.”
This is amazing stuff. Because this type of system is usually not connected to the internet the delivery mechanism had to be by USB memory stick.
The virus is benign until it lodges inside the exact target.
What an efficient way to wage war.
Much cheaper in cash and political terms than a missile strike and with the added bonus that the target will not want to admit any damage because of the resulting embarrassment !

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