Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

Fear of a Stuxnet clone

The Stuxnet cyberattack on the Iranian nuclear program is arguably the best know cyberattack in the world. There are those that believe this malicious piece of code is the first, true cyber super weapon, although that title is highly disputed.

I would call Stuxnet the most notable cyber weapon to date. What is certain is that Stuxnet was skillfully crafted, and was able to penetrate system defenses and destroy a real-world target. It was specifically designed to take control of and destroy industrial control systems used in Iran’s nuclear enrichment process.

Many cybersecurity professionals and government officials believe a clone of Stuxnet might not be far off. They are also quick to point out the risks associated with the development of a Stuxnet clone. The Congressional Research Service warned that future Stuxnet variants could be used to target and destroy U.S. critical infrastructure. There are concerns that the mutant version might be much more destructive and pose a greater threat as would-be attackers studied the first Stuxnet attack and learned from it. Cybersecurity experts testified in July before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and stated that the Stuxnet virus is capable of morphing into a new variant designed to attack industrial systems anywhere in the world.

The Homeland Security Department has been studying the Stuxnet cyber weapon for about a year, which clearly indicates their concern. Add to that the fact that some security products now include the ability to identify exploits associated with the infamous Stuxnet malware.

It is clear that the threat of Stuxnet II is real and a reason for concern. Is the United States ready for such an attack? How about the rest of the world? Join us at the Defense Systems Summit Sept. 7 to explore this topic further.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Aug 04, 2011 at 12:54 PM


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