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Stuxnet ‘Virus’ Can be Changed to Attack US Facilities

A report issued by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) claims that Stuxnet, worm that has attacked many Iranian nuclear facilities, can hit the U.S.A as well, hampering both the government's capability and the society's proficiency to protect the country.

The report states that a successful attack on the U.S.A, employing latest variants of the Stuxnet weapon, can cause damage to the country's infrastructure such as, water, electricity, transportation, etc.

In the report, the US Congressional Research Service said States has a motive to develop Stuxnet as, unlike other kinds of malware, the worm is not made to compromise data but to hamper and disable control systems and operations, as per the reports by zawya.com on December 10, 2010.

The crippled critical infrastructure disrupts various phases of life which includes the government's proficiency to protect the interests of national security. Terrorists groups, which were earlier incapable of launching damaging cyberattacks can buy or even hire a Stuxnet-based alternative from organized criminal gangs to initiate an infrastructure based attack on the USA.

Further, the report mentioned that the US, the UK, Israel, Russia, France, and China have proficiency and impetus to create the worm. The report added that, it is probably the developer did not think the inadvertent results of the worm becoming extensively available and subject to exploitation to make it less recognizable and stronger.

Commenting on the matter, Dr. Udo Helmbrecht, Executive Director of the European Network and Information Security Agency stated that, Stuxnet is absolutely a pattern shift because it is a new standard and kind of malicious software. He further stated that Stuxnet is a "first strike weapon", which is one of the most well structured and well primed attacks. He stated that, this would have great effect on the security of important infrastructure in near future, as reported by YAHOO NEWS on December 15, 2010.

In the report, the US states that it does not know the origin of the Stuxnet virus, which has attacked companies throughout the world though 60% of cases have been in Iran. An attack by Stuxnet can lead to manipulation of control system code to the level of inoperability or long-term damage. As the Ralph Langner, the control system expert who first recognized Stuxnet's cyber warfare capabilities opines that it will take two more years for Iran to get back on track.

Related article: Stuxnet malware Signed With JMicron Certificate

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