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Cyber worm found at German industrial plants

The Local · 2 Oct 2010, 12:40

Published: 02 Oct 2010 12:40 GMT+02:00

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Siemens told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that 15 of its customers had been affected – including chemical and power plants and production facilities. The company said operators reported the problem to Siemens after discovering the cyber worm in their systems.

Five of the 15 companies affected have their headquarters in Germany, while the others are based in the United States, Asia and other Western European countries.

After operators discovered the Stuxnet worm, Siemens assisted each one of them in deleting the virus. Siemens said the operators retained control of their facilities and no shutdown was required.

Experts consider the Stuxnet virus to be the "first cyber super weapon." It is capable of breaking into computers that control machinery at the heart of industry, allowing an attacker to assume control of critical systems like pumps, motors, alarms and valves.

It could, technically, make factory boilers explode, destroy gas pipelines or even cause a nuclear plant to malfunction.

Stuxnet is believed to target Siemens control systems, which are commonly used to manage water supplies, oil rigs, power plants and other industrial facilities.

The company said they succeeded in isolating the virus at a test facility for further study. "Our analyses have not yielded any conclusions on the specific purpose or the maker of the virus," Siemens told Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Story continues below…

The computer worm – a piece of malicious software (malware) which copies itself and sends itself on to other computers in a network – was first spotted by Siemens on July 15, a company spokesman told AFP.

AFP/The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:51 October 2, 2010 by gogo99
@Oblomov, I prefer Israel attack Iran's nuclear program by cyber war rather than a 'real' war. Anyhow, instead of bashing Israel, I would like to know why is Siemens supplying Iran with software systems? Maybe Siemens should be asked to do some serious explaining as well (I'm not a fan of double-standard...).
19:47 October 2, 2010 by ngwanem
@gogo99: cyberwar better than the "real" war???

read the virus is capable of causing explosions... it is the perfect Trojan horse u may say.... causing remote damage without any responsibility from the maker... and btw war is war - irrespective of the form...
21:22 October 2, 2010 by DinhoPilot
Wasn't me...

That's all I can say about it... The rest is classified ^^
21:49 October 2, 2010 by cklb
cool idea. cyberworms don't need no visa, so it seems that terrorists got a bit more intelligent. if the worm get's caught, who cares? waterboard the cyberworm :-p critical systems shouldn' be connected to the internet, but it seems that no one cares about that either... hope that the operators of such facilities learned their lesson. otherwise we might have major problems, some day...
22:44 October 2, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, I believe that we need to come up with a very simple solution for cyber criminals.

A group of Real Intellectuals could literally solve all of humanity's problems. "Intelligence converts complexity into simplicity." AD
23:19 October 2, 2010 by William Thirteen
well i certainly hope those 'Real Intellectuals' get their sh*t together soon because humanity's problems don't seem to waiting around...
02:44 October 4, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
I wouldn't go blaming anyone until we know where it came from. The reality is that regular facilities (sewage plants, electric facilities, factories, etc) are all now computer controlled (unlike when I was a boy and it was all mechanical and isolated).

Whoever did this has just made us aware that War has a new aspect that the Government is going to have to prepare for...after all if the entire infrastructure could be shut down/destroyed remotely that would be an incredible military advantage...

Good news is I guess there will be decent jobs in facility cyber-security and security design in the near future.
02:28 October 5, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Look for the usual suspects. Most of our IT jobs have been farmed out ("outsourced" in Orwellian speak) to India and Pakistan. Pakistan, in particular, has a stake in this game, in case no one has noticed.

Then of course there's always China. Patient, inscrutable, avaricious, totalitarian, expansionist China, which sees itself as the next great dominating force on the planet. :-)
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