Worm Win32/Stuxnet Targets Supervisory Systems in the U.S. and Iran
According to ESET Virus Lab, the worm has been active for several days, lately in the U.S. and Iran withalmost 58 percent of all infections being reported in the United States, 30 percent in Iran and slightly over four percent in Russia. The cyber attacks in the U.S. and heightened activity of the worm in Iran come in the wake of persisting tensions between the two nations over nuclear ambitions of this Middle Eastern country.
“This worm is an exemplary case of targeted attack exploiting a zero-day vulnerability, or, in other words, a vulnerability which is unknown to the public. This particular attack targets the industrial supervisory software SCADA. In short – this is an example of malware-aided industrial espionage. The question is why the chart of affected nations looks as it does,” said Juraj Malcho, head of the Virus Lab at ESET’s global headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia.
An interesting angle to this story is how the worm spreads. “For a truly targeted attack it would have been coded to make specific checks to see that it only ran where it was supposed to and did not spread. Spreading increases the odds of detection. If the attack was aimed at only US systems, then the attacker would not want the code appearing all over the world. This fact might indicate a number of potential attackers,” said Randy Abrams, director of technical education at ESET in the U.S. “The ability to attack power grids throughout the world would be very appealing to terrorist groups,” concludes Abrams.
Full article HERE
Interesting choice of countries to attack… What would be the motivation for just those two countries in a targeted attack? Could there be some cross polinization due to the actions of one country on another? Lets say for instance, the Iran got infected by something they procured or had access to within the US? Or vice versa? My bet though, is that this is a targeted attack on the systems themselves and not country centric. Any country using like technology, likely has the new worm in their midst and may not know it.
Of course, just how many SCADA systems are prevalent today? As well, just how many have been connected to systems that face the internet in some way? That is the operative question I guess…
As for the contention that this is industrial espionage.. Well, I might think it is more groundwork for something else… Here it comes…
Cyber Warfare Oh my, I said it didn’t I huh.. The talk lately has been so back and forth between detractors and believers that no one really is getting “it” No matter what you call it, no matter who you want to attribute it to as attackers go, here is the proof of concept that even if it is not “happening successfully” yet, they are trying. That is the important thing to keep in mind. What people fail to understand is that the whole US grid need not be knocked out to make a cyber war or to be successful. All you really need is for the target of your choosing that will fulfill your desired outcome, to be taken down or subverted in whatever way you want it to be.
I am sure the bickering will continue and the government will look at this and think they have to create another agency or sub group to think about it more.. In the meantime though, we still have the problem of these systems perhaps being connected to networks that are not secure, whats worse, those networks may in fact be internet facing and thus able to be C&C’d from remote locations like mainland China.
More has come out about this 0day and the supervisory systems attack (I wonder if that is the only vuln attack here or is it just one of many coded into this effort?) It seems that the Siemens software and an old and well known SCADA password for it on the internet, has been coded into this and has been seen in the systems spoken of above.
IDG reported that Siemens issued a warning on Friday saying the virus targets clients using Simatic WinCC, one of the company’s industrial control system software offerings that runs on Windows. The virus strikes at a recently discovered Windows bug that affects every Microsoft operating system, including the recently released Windows 7.
The virus transmits itself through infected USBs. When the USB is plugged in to a computer, the virus copies itself into any other connected USBs and, if it recognizes Siemens’ software, it tries to log in to the computer using a default password.
Now this article has language from Siemens that alleges industrial espionage and not so much prelude to attacks on a networked system such as the grid. One wonders just what the straight story is here. In either case, the incursion of the worm and the accessing of a known pass/log to a SCADA system is not a good thing for those of us trying to protect said systems. Would not one looking at this on the face of it think that it was an attempt to gain a foothold as well as intel on SCADA systems for future use?
Better keep your eyes peeled…