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Stuxnet 'Patient Zero' Attack Targets Revealed
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RetiredUser
RetiredUser,
User Rank: Ninja
11/13/2014 | 6:51:44 PM
Insider Espionage?
If we are to take the information at face value, we need to think about how worms like Stuxnet are implemented.  If the computer at Foolad Technic Engineering Company was infected just hours after the worm's creation, then yes, the idea of infection via USB isn't as likely, unless the worm was either written there onsite (which could have even been done on the first computer infected) or it was downloaded by an insider who was in communication with the Stuxnet authors and was waiting for it to be completed before downloading it.  There is great significance in the short time frame between creation of Stuxnet and infection of the first computer.  We could be looking at insider espionage, and investigation of who was working at Foolad during that timeframe will likely lead to identification of the original perpetrators.  I'm no political scientist, but after reading all the original articles linked from the Wikipedia page on Stuxnet, and newer ones since, one wonders if we aren't actually looking at self-sabotage (whether or not the actual writers of the code were based in Iran – it could have been made to order).  

I recall reading that several facts of the attack would make self-sabotage out of the question, the argument being that if the Iranians at the plants were going to sabotage themselves, they wouldn't create such a complex worm to do it.  Expense, intelligence involved, sheer hours to develop the work and the fact all the exploits it used were exposed and can't necessarily be used again; all point to external players.  Additionally, highly-guarded authentic private keys from two large companies were compromised and used to digitally-sign the worm, making the software "authentic", and the fact that four (at least) zero-day exploits were used to spread this worm - hardcore.  But I'd argue that we've seen more sophistication in the Middle East that we'd previously given credit for, even if it was gained through working with outsiders.  Remember, these plants are staffed with sharp engineers and whatever the reason for it, there could easily have been a motive for someone in one of the organizations listed, Foolad standing out, to kick off Stuxnet.         
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
11/12/2014 | 8:47:01 AM
Re: stuxnet
Yes, I definately want to put the book on my reading list...
Bprince
Bprince,
User Rank: Ninja
11/12/2014 | 8:17:01 AM
stuxnet
The malware was a game changer in so many ways. Looking forward to reading this when I get a chance.
RyanSepe
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
11/12/2014 | 7:46:39 AM
Re: Stuxnet
Agreed, it truly is fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Has this attack evolved since its original inception or has it remained pretty close to a constant?
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
11/11/2014 | 5:25:18 PM
Stuxnet
I find the Stuxnet endlessly fascinating. I look forward to reading Kim Zetter's account.


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