Newsletters
The Enterprise Security Supersite NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home Network Security Viruses & Malware Cybercrime Security Solutions More Topics...
APC Free White Paper
Optimize your network investment &
Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Viruses & Malware
24/7/365 Network Uptime!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Stuxnet Strike on U.S. Utility Signals Disturbing Trend
Stuxnet Strike on U.S. Utility Signals Disturbing Trend

By Mark Long
November 21, 2011 2:40PM

Bookmark and Share
"Minor glitches were observed in remote access to the SCADA system for two to three months before it was identified as a cyber attack," wrote security expert Joseph Weiss in a blog. "It is believed the SCADA software vendor was hacked and customer usernames and passwords stolen."
 


U.S. security experts say a variant of the Stuxnet computer worm caused the destruction of a water pump at a public utility in Springfield, Ill., last week. Discovered in June of last year, Stuxnet targets the Windows-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems developed by Siemens to control and monitor specific industrial processes.

Though the destruction of a pump might not seem like such a big deal, there are oil pipelines, power plants, large communication systems, airports, ships and even military installations around the world using similar control systems. An earlier cyber attack targeting a control system at a hydroelectric facility in Russia killed more than 70 people in 2009.

The potential threats posed by cyber warfare are only outranked by nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction, warned Gen. Keith Alexander, the commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency.

"When you look at the vulnerabilities that we face in this area, it's extraordinary," Alexander said earlier this month. "What we see is a disturbing trend -- from exploitation to disruption to destruction."

A New Cyber Arms Race

What's worse, Stuxnet may merely be the prototype for more powerful next-generation cyber weapons that ultimately will make the Web the new battleground in an ever-widening arms race.

"In the past there were just cyber criminals," said Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky. "Now I am afraid it is the time of cyber terrorism, cyber weapons and cyber wars," he warned the security industry in a speech delivered in November of last year.

The first known Stuxnet variants uncovered were specifically aimed at Iran-based organizations with probable ties to the nation's nuclear energy program. The sophistication of the worm's coding and other factors have led computer security experts to believe that Stuxnet was a state-sponsored worm specifically constructed for conducting cyber warfare.

"This piece of malware was designed to sabotage plants, to damage industrial systems," Kaspersky said.

Protective Measures

Last week the worm turned, and this time the target was an industrial installation in the United States. According to Applied Control Systems cyber security expert Joseph Weiss, it appears that the attack on the Illinois water utility had actually been under way for weeks prior to the pump's destruction.

"Minor glitches were observed in remote access to the SCADA system for two to three months before it was identified as a cyber attack," Weiss wrote in a blog. "It is believed the SCADA software vendor was hacked and customer usernames and passwords stolen."

To protect U.S. military installations, the U.S. Defense Department is evaluating a possible move to more-secure cloud computing environments, which would prevent foreign adversaries from targeting any single computer server.

As part of a more dynamic perimeter defense network, Alexander is also considering the creation of special "hunter teams" that could actively seek out and defuse potential cyber threats before they actually cause damage.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Jack:

Posted: 2011-11-29 @ 7:52am PT
Hoax.

admingal.com:

Posted: 2011-11-21 @ 4:04pm PT
Water plan used a 3-character password, this was not cyber-terrorism...

Steve Anderson:

Posted: 2011-11-21 @ 3:42pm PT
How did it destroy a water pump???

The story sucks, give real details.

Its like a S/W designer, NO Value! NO details!

Was the code written in COBOL???



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Viruses & Malware
1.   Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions at Risk
2.   Big DDoS Attacks Hit Record in 2014
3.   Google Hacker Team to Hunt Bugs
4.   Russian Hacker's Charges Revealed
5.   Hackers Target Western Energy Firms


advertisement
Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions at Risk
Users: stick to apps from Google Play.
Average Rating:
Big DDoS Attacks Hit Record in 2014
Attackers often use NTP reflection.
Average Rating:
Hackers Target Western Energy Firms
Appears to be state-sponsored group.
Average Rating:


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Tor Internet Privacy Service Warns Users It Was Breached
You may never have heard of the Tor Project, but the Internet privacy service is making headlines. Tor’s devs say users might be victims of an attack launched against the project earlier this year.
 
Canadian Government Charges China with Cyberattack
The government of Canada is not happy with China. Canadian officials have accused "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" of launching a cyberattack on its National Research Council.
 
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
AMD's ARM-Based Opteron Out in $3K Dev Kit
It's dubbed "Seattle" and it's AMD's first 64-bit ARM-based Opteron processor. The low-power chip is being released as part of AMD’s Opteron A1100-series developer kit, and aimed at high-end data center needs.
 
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Dell, BlackBerry Not Sweating Apple-IBM Alliance
IBM's recent move to partner with Apple to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both companies, but two rivals say they are unperturbed for now.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Virgin Mobile Offers Custom Smartphone Plans
As the wireless carrier wars continue heating up, Virgin Mobile just threw the customization coal onto the fire. The firm has debuted a no-annual-contract plan with rates based on individual use.
 
Collaboration Provider Asana Revamps Mobile App
Asana, a collaboration software provider started by a Facebook founder, is now out with a rebuilt native iOS mobile app. It replaces one that even the company admits was not up to par.
 
FTC Wants Fix for 'Perfect Scam' of Mobile Cramming
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued new guidelines to curb “mobile cramming,” a troublesome practice that adds unauthorized third-party charges to mobile phone bills.
 

Navigation
Enterprise Security Today
Home/Top News | Network Security | Viruses & Malware | Cybercrime | Security Solutions | Mobile Security | Disaster Recovery | Windows Security
Data Security | EST Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.