With Worms Such As Stuxnet Are We In For A New Level Of Cyber Warfare?

Recently you might have heard about a new worm that was able to take down or at the very least delay a new nuclear plant going up in Iran.

The worm that was released was named Stuxnet and it is one of the first of its kind for several reasons.

I will get into why the worm was so special later on in the article.

The real topic of the article is how this new face of cyber warfare is going to affect us now.

cyber-war

This worm and some of the cyber events of the past two years has really shown us that the country who lacks in cyber protection will be the one that is in trouble later on.

For anyone that ever doubted this fact the proof is right in front of us.

Cyber warfare is real and it is something that we are going to have to get used to real quick.

So as I mentioned earlier in the article, let’s talk about the Stuxnet worm first and then let’s get into the level of cyber warfare that we will probably see for years to come.

What Is The Stuxnet Worm And Why Was It So Effective?

Before I talk about the Stuxnet worm directly I will discuss in general what a worm is.

A computer worm is a piece of code that allows a bad guy to infect all of the nodes of a network.

The nodes are otherwise known as the computers on a network but they do not have to be computers exactly.

There have been worms that have infected the printers and routers that were on a network though usually it is a computer that is being infected by the worm.

Most of the worms will allow the software that has infected the network to contact another piece of software on a remote server so that the remote computer can give it directions.

So now that you know the basics of a worm, let’s talk about the Stuxnet worm in detail.

The Stuxnet worm is something that we have not seen that often in the security community.

This is a worm that targets industrial targets and not the usual home user.

While there have been known worms that have gone after businesses and corporations, those worms were usually after businesses that were more data orientated.

Data orientated companies are businesses such as financial firms and the sort.

But the Stuxnet worm went straight after the industrial complex heart.

They attacked the actual machines that are used to build things.

Instead of the worm sitting on a computer somewhere, it was actually placed on a controller chip that is used to monitor the building of other devices.

The exact device that the worm was used to attack is known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition according to Wikipedia.

When the worm was used to target systems in Iran it was through electronics that were provided by a company known as Siemens.

While no-one is quite yet sure where the worm came from, it is rumored to be a worm that was either created by Israel alone or a joint venture between Isreal and the United States.

This is only a rumor and no one is entirely sure where it came from.

The worm has such a high level of workmanship that it was made to be sure that it did not affect any computers other than the ones that it directly targeted.

So How Does It Affect Our Cyber Well Being?

As I said earlier in the article, this worm is only the latest in a long line of cyber warfare games that we have been seeing recently, one of these games being the organized Russian hacker attack on Estonia; Russian hackers were pretty much able to kick the government of Estonia off the web.

The other big name cyber attack sponsored by a government entity is the attack on Google by hackers that were thought to be funded by the Chinese government.

The tracks led back to the Chinese government because email accounts of Chinese government dissidents were targeted by the hackers.

As you see, the attack on the Iran government is only the latest in a line of new of cyber attacks that are state sponsored.

And these are only the ones that we know about.

There are probably plenty of more breaches that are coming up or have happened that we do not know about yet.

This is why the world’s governments must start taking cyber security very seriously.

This is the new way that governments are going to be able to hurt each other.

Why send soldiers on the battlefield when everything can be done by remote?

Even some of the battles that we fight in real life have a cyber edge to them.

We now control planes that bomb sites by remote control.

Now imagine if that system was able to be hacked….

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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