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Warning over malicious computer worm (infects sw controlling valves in pipelines, powerplants)
Financial Timesw ^ | Sept. 24, 2010 | Joseph Menn , Mary Watkins

Posted on 09/24/2010 6:35:14 AM PDT by SmartInsight

A piece of highly sophisticated malicious software that has infected an unknown number of power plants, pipelines and factories over the past year is the first program designed to cause serious damage in the physical world, security experts are warning.

The Stuxnet computer worm spreads through previously unknown holes in Microsoft’s Windows operating system and then looks for a type of software made by Siemens and used to control industrial components, including valves and brakes.

“It is not speculation that this is the first directed cyber weapon”, or one aimed at a specific real-world process, said Joe Weiss, a US expert who has testified to Congress on technological security threats to the electric grid and other physical operations. “The only speculation is what it is being used against, and by whom.”

They suggest that it is most likely associated with a national government and that terrorism, ideological motivation or even extortion cannot be ruled out.

(Excerpt) Read more at ft.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: computers; cyberterrorism; internet; siemens; software; stuxnet; terrorism; wot
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Also see article from 2002:

Cyber-Attacks by Al Qaeda Feared Terrorists at Threshold of Using Internet as Tool of Bloodshed, Experts Say

Late last fall, Detective Chris Hsiung of the Mountain View, Calif., police department began investigating a suspicious pattern of surveillance against Silicon Valley computers. From the Middle East and South Asia, unknown browsers were exploring the digital systems used to manage Bay Area utilities and government offices. Hsiung, a specialist in high-technology crime, alerted the FBI's San Francisco computer intrusion squad.

Working with experts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the FBI traced trails of a broader reconnaissance. A forensic summary of the investigation, prepared in the Defense Department, said the bureau found "multiple casings of sites" nationwide. Routed through telecommunications switches in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan, the visitors studied emergency telephone systems, electrical generation and transmission, water storage and distribution, nuclear power plants and gas facilities.

Some of the probes suggested planning for a conventional attack, U.S. officials said. But others homed in on a class of digital devices that allow remote control of services such as fire dispatch and of equipment such as pipelines. More information about those devices -- and how to program them -- turned up on al Qaeda computers seized this year, according to law enforcement and national security officials.

1 posted on 09/24/2010 6:35:20 AM PDT by SmartInsight
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To: SmartInsight
Walmart was down worldwide yesterday.
2 posted on 09/24/2010 6:38:19 AM PDT by mountainlion (concerned conservative.)
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To: SmartInsight
Mama always said these computers are going to destroy us.
DANG.
3 posted on 09/24/2010 6:48:22 AM PDT by no-to-illegals (Please God, Bless and Protect Our Men and Women in Uniform)
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To: SmartInsight

I used to work with Joe Weiss at EPRI. Good to see my old colleague getting some press.


4 posted on 09/24/2010 6:48:45 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: SmartInsight

We don’t need a EMP or solar event to reduce us to the middle ages.


5 posted on 09/24/2010 6:49:18 AM PDT by vanilla swirl (We are the Patrick Henry we have been waiting for!)
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To: SmartInsight

I have been arguing for years that the Windows monopoly is a monoculture. It will suffer the same fate as the Dutch tulip market crash, the Irish potato(e) famine, the boll weevil infestation and other monocultures over history.

If 95% of our computers are controlled by one family of operating systems, some day there will be a worldwide infection that has the potential to wipe them out.

The only answer is Diversity. I know this is a bad word with so-called Conservatives, but heterogeneity in computers is a necessary thing in a modern, wired, connected world economy.

Think about it: if all your connected computers run Windows, there is a 100% chance that a Windows infection on one of them will spread to another.

But say you have four Operating Systems in your institution; 1/4 Windows, 1/4Mac, 1/4 Linux, 1/4 some other obscure OS. If one system gets infected, the chances of the next is 1/4. The chances of ALL your systems getting the infection is (1/4)**N where N is the number of systems in your entire institution.

But as with all visionary concepts, this will be ignored until the disaster strikes. Then everyone will ask: “Why didn’t we take precautions?”


6 posted on 09/24/2010 6:59:23 AM PDT by eCSMaster
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To: eCSMaster
The only answer is Diversity.

I hear ya. I'm switchin' back to Windows 3.1.

7 posted on 09/24/2010 7:04:38 AM PDT by super7man
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To: eCSMaster
Indeed.

Worse, Microsoft believes that obscurity is security.

Look at that article again:

The Stuxnet computer worm spreads through previously unknown holes in Microsoft's Windows operating system

Somehow this reminds me of the 0bama administration, everything happens "unexpectedly"...

8 posted on 09/24/2010 7:10:46 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 612 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: _Jim

It’s happening.


9 posted on 09/24/2010 7:11:45 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 612 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: SmartInsight

bump for after work


10 posted on 09/24/2010 7:24:33 AM PDT by OrioleFan (Republicans believe every day is the 4th of July, democrats believe every day is April 15.)
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To: SmartInsight

I was just reading about something similar:

The Farewell Dossier (How the CIA blew up the Trans-Siberian pipeline with pirated software)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2594959/posts


11 posted on 09/24/2010 7:25:25 AM PDT by idkfa
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To: SmartInsight; rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

12 posted on 09/24/2010 7:26:31 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: SmartInsight

This is the danger when you hire the lowest cost person in a third world country to program your systems. I am beginning to believe that these unknown exploits in Microsoft code are deliberately put there.


13 posted on 09/24/2010 7:34:56 AM PDT by w1andsodidwe (How can you tell when the President is lying? When his lips move, of course.)
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To: mountainlion
Walmart was down worldwide yesterday.

Do you think it's related to this? The whole company? Kind of scary - always feel that Walmart will get 'the trucks through' - metaphorically speaking ( Hurricane Katrina and all )...

14 posted on 09/24/2010 7:36:56 AM PDT by GOPJ (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2589165/posts)
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To: idkfa

Are you saying we put out the worm?


15 posted on 09/24/2010 7:38:27 AM PDT by GOPJ (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2589165/posts)
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To: eCSMaster
The only answer is Diversity.

It's our strength.

16 posted on 09/24/2010 7:58:25 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: null and void
"The Stuxnet computer worm spreads through previously unknown holes in Microsoft's Windows operating system"

Somehow this reminds me of the 0bama administration, everything happens "unexpectedly"...

And...it's full of previously unknown holes!

17 posted on 09/24/2010 8:04:23 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: eCSMaster
I fear systems so dependent on computers that nothing can be done;in my view there should alwys be a way for actual human control.Nor is this total interconnection a good thing.People don't realize just how vulnerable we are to some evil computer terrorist.

For your most obscure 4th OS,you might try Amiga OS !

18 posted on 09/24/2010 8:04:52 AM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a credit card?)
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To: hoosierham; eCSMaster

I actually ran into a large industrial router not too long ago running on OS/2! The manufacturer wanted some ungodly amount for a Windows version of their operating software, so we had to deal with it as is.


19 posted on 09/24/2010 8:09:58 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom
I used to work with Joe Weiss at EPRI.

I'm right down the street!

20 posted on 09/24/2010 8:49:50 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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