Are Computer Viruses the Armies of the Future?

02/01/2012 by Vanick Digital

Most of us are aware of the nuclear proliferation that is occurring in Iran, but have you heard of Stuxnet? By some accounts, the infection of Stuxnet in the Iranian nuclear facilities set their production back years.

There is no doubt that the world is getting smaller. With internet connectivity readily available and 24-hour news channels, people all over the world are more connected and aware of world events than ever before. One can only assume that this will continue in the coming years.

What is Stuxnet and who created it?

Stuxnet is considered as the world's first cyber weapon. The computer virus was unleashed in 2009 and was quickly investigated by reputable anti-virus security companies across the world. The majority of these companies looked into the virus, and wrote it off as a small threat; however a small group of developers at Symantec wanted to know exactly what this virus did. After many weeks of digging into the code, they determined that this virus had a very specific goal – it was developed to attack specific motors at manufacturing plants. After more research they determined that the majority of the infected computers were in Iran.

Once the code was cracked, it was obvious that the virus was built to infect an internal computer network that included specific machines used in nuclear centrifuges. The virus caused the rotors to spin at higher rates of speed then slow down just enough to ruin the nuclear material being created. Stuxnet also disabled any automated alarms and intercepted and edited status reports to remove any sign of the commands that were ruining the nuclear materials.

Because Iran does not provide information about their nuclear program, it is not known how long Stuxnet was able to run without detection or how much damage it caused, but the IAEA reported that between 1000 and 2000 centrifuges were swapped out in an Iranian facility over the course of a few months.

It is still unknown who developed and deployed Stuxnet although there are many conspiracy theories. Most people believe that a powerful government had to be involved due to the amount of resources required to develop something of this magnitude.

How did the developer crack the code? Read more detailed information here .

Think Stuxnet sounds like a Hollywood movie plot? Check out this clip .

Vanick Digital