Stuxnet Infects Russian Nuclear Plant, And The Space Station
Apparently, the Stuxnet virus, which was designed, apparently by U.S. and Israeli intelligence, to disable the centrifuges that Iran uses to purify nuclear fuel, has made it into orbit:
A Russian nuclear power plant was reportedly “badly infected” by the rogue Stuxnet virus, the same malware that reportedly disrupted Iran’s nuclear program several years ago. The virus then spread to the International Space Station via a Stuxnet-infected USB stick transported by Russian cosmonauts.
Speaking to journalists in Canberra, Australia, last week, Eugene Kaspersky, head of the anti-virus and cyber protection firm that bears his name, said he had been tipped off about the damage by a friend who works at the Russian plant.
Kaspersky did not say when the attacks took place, but implied that they occurred around the same time the Iranian infection was reported. He also did not comment on the impact of the infections on either the nuclear plant or the space station, but did say that the latter facility had been attacked several times.
The revelation came during a question-and-answer period after a presentation on cyber-security. The point, Kaspersky told reporters at Australia’s National Press Club last week, was that not being connected to the Internet — the public web cannot be accessed at either the nuclear plant or on the ISS — is a guarantee that systems will remain safe. The identity of the entity that released Stuxnet into the “wild” is still unknown (although media speculation insists it was developed by Israel and the United States), but those who think they can control a released virus are mistaken, Kaspersky warned. “What goes around comes around,” Kaspersky said. “Everything you do will boomerang.”
Now that the plague has been unleashed, said Kaspersky, no one is immune — and that includes its originators, who are no longer in control of it. “There are no borders” in cyberspace, and no one should be surprised at any reports of a virus attack, no matter how ostensibly secure the facility, he said.
That, of course, is the danger with any kind of cyber warfare. Once the methods are out there, they are capable of being copied by anybody and turned against the people who originated the attack. Perhaps that’s a reason to be careful of what we’re doing here.