The Stuxnet worm cyber-attack

The Stuxnet worm cyber-attack

The Stuxnet worm cyber-attack refers to the sophisticated worm that is thought to have emerged in the year 2005 but was officially was realized after a period of five years since its emergence. It majorly occurred in Iran and majorly targeted computer systems and programs that are thought to have caused any substantial damages to the nuclear programs in the nuclear programs in Iran. The Stuxnet weighed five hundred kilobytes. Its origin is not clearly known although allegations claim that it has its origin in America in conjunction with Israel cyber-attack weapons (Hughes, 2002). It is therefore a worm that is greatly sophisticated worm that is designed for computers. It starts from a single computer and spreads quickly to other computers in a particular system of computers. It was designed to infect computers with an aim of causing general global physical complications. Therefore it focuses on centrifuges that are designed to release quality uranium used in the powering of nuclear reactors and weapons (Szor, 2005). 

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It was first discovered by the team that designed to deal with information on computers in 2010. It is basically meant for causing harm on computers that have no connection with the uranium. For those computers enriched with uranium, the rate of spread is very high. At the time it affects a particular computer, the worm has the capability to confirm if that computer is connected to the models of programmable logic controllers that are specifically manufactured by Siemens. The programmable logical controllers refers to the way in which control the machinery of ant factory or industry through their interactions. If it discovers that the specific computer is connected to the programmable logical models, it interferes with it a situation that results into long and fast working of the machinery. In the process, the important and minute equipment are eventually damaged (Collins, McCombie, 2012). The Stuxnet only targets the programmable logic controllers because they are mainly designed to enable the automatic processes of electro mechanisms that majorly disintegrate nuclear materials.

According to the director of security technology and response, it is evident that the worm is more complex and complicated in terms of its code. He further claims that its code cannot be found anywhere or in any website due to its complexity. He gave reasons that the inventors had not yet released the code since it was also thought to be very minute. He claimed that the only code available was that which had been made by the engineers hence its original code could take years for it to be released by experts from Israel and United States, specifically those who invented it. 

The Stuxne was developed by the two states with a major aim of delaying the intention of Iran programs in developing more nuclear weapons. This was triggered through the strong administrations of Presidents Obama and George Bush so as to prevent airstrikes from Israel against Iran. If this could have taken place, then probably another war could have been experienced in the world. Even though it affected computer programs and systems, it was a nonviolent form of a regional war. It is the United States of America that gave out the mandate of using and testing its effectiveness. Media houses have tried to explain the designer of the Stuxnet worm and have come to the conclusion that it was earlier on designed as a cyber-weapon that targeted a program in Iran that focused on nuclear weapons. 

Despite the fact that there have had questions on who came with this virus, it has now come into conclusion that it was created in the United States of America and Israel by the intelligence agencies of these states. The code name of the worm was initially termed as “Operation Olympic Games” under the leadership of the United States’ President George W. Bush. It later continued under the leadership of Barack Obama. However, the two states have never agreed to who developed the virus. It is surprising that during the celebration of Israel Defense Forces head, Stxnet was listed as one of his successes. This proves that it is Israel that developed the worm, although there is no tangible proof for this. In its creation, it has been found out that a team of ten experts and coders created the worm in close to two-three years. The Stuxnet is linked to other worms with the same capability of causing such a menace to computer systems and programs. Such viruses include the duqu and flame. However, their initiators and originators have not yet been clearly identified. 

The Stuxnet worm occurs and operates in three steps. During the first step, there is the analysis of the windows, the computer systems and the networks that it targets. It starts multiplying after infecting the specific programs and spreads out quickly (Pătraşcu and Simion, 2014). In the second step, the windows are gained access based on the Siemens Step7 software. The Siemens software was mainly used in the networks that majorly computing in nature. Such networks include the nuclear boosting facilities. The worm at this stage has infected and invaded the step7 software and finally entered the industrial program logic controllers. The virus now can access the important information in an institution hence making it possible to run and operate personal sites. The multiplication process increased the prevalence of the virus since it could be transferred through the computer ports. For instance, when it had invaded a particular system and a device is plugged into the system, then the virus automatically disperses and spreads to any computer system the cable would be plugged into. This shows the invasive nature of the worm. The Stuxnet uses the Microsoft Windows and networks. In a recent instance, it affected the programmable logic controllers of Iran and gathered all information in their systems thus making the centrifuges to separate themselves (Kesler, 2011). 

Such an occurrence could not have happened in the United States of America because of her technological advancement and inventions that always work with an aim of inventing new developments. Before it was tested out, several meetings were carried out in the White House under the leadership of President Obama. He eventually gave out a go ahead to try out the malware. The scheming nature of the United States leadership always works towards ensuring harmony in all of the world countries.

 Had not have taken part in preventing Iran from producing more atomic and nuclear weapons, then probably, there could have arose world war that could have claimed many humanity and destructed both economic and political growth of most states. For instance, before its trial, there was an experiment where a balloon was inflated and then infected with the computer system that was under the control of Stuxnet. It was latter unbelievable based on the results as they were dramatic since the balloon was fully pumped with air until when it busted. Despite the fact that the United States of America initiated the trial of the Stuxnet, its experiment did not take place in the states but in Iran. The experiment is likened to the employer’s USB drive. This eventually affected a whole industrial facility of the Natanz that was specialized in nuclear facilities. When inspection was done by the International Atomic Energy Agency, it was realized that most of the uranium centrifuges were breaking because of failure of the machine. The question of why this industry is well known since the Stuxnet was majorly designed to affect uranium enriching facilities. Therefore such a menace or havoc could not happen in the United States of America (Zetter, 2014). 

References

B. Kesler, “The Vulnerability of Nuclear Facilities to Cyber Attack,” Strategic Insights 10, 15 (2011).

Collins, S., & McCombie, S. (2012). Stuxnet: the emergence of a new cyber weapon and its implications. Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, 7(1), 80-91.

Hughes, S. (2002). The Iraqi Threat and Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. Trafford Publishing.

K. Zetter, Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon (Crown, 2014).

Pătraşcu, A., & Simion, E. (2014). Cyber security evaluation of critical infrastructures systems. N., B., L., D., NM, T.(eds.) Autonomous vehicles. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 185-205.Szor, P. (2005). The art of computer virus research and defense. Pearson Education.

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