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By Robert McMillan
IDG News Service
September 14, 2010
A sophisticated worm designed to steal industrial secrets and disrupt
operations has infected at least 14 plants, according to Siemens.
Called Stuxnet, the worm was discovered in July when researchers at
VirusBlokAda found it on computers in Iran. It is one of the most
sophisticated and unusual pieces of malicious software ever created --
the worm leveraged a previously unknown Windows vulnerability (now
patched) that allowed it to spread from computer to computer, typically
via USB sticks.
The worm, designed to attack Siemens industrial control systems, has not
spread widely. However, it has affected a number of Siemens plants,
according to company spokesman Simon Wieland. "We detected the virus in
the SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition] systems of 14
plants in operation but without any malfunction of process and
production and without any damage," he said in an e-mail message.
This is worrisome news because according to a new paper on the worm, set
to be delivered at this month's Virus Bulletin conference in Vancouver,
Stuxnet could be used to cause a significant amount of damage if it is
not properly removed.
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