Computer virus named Stuxnet attacks China

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 30 September 2010, 19:52 Hrs   |    9 Comments
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Computer virus named Stuxnet attacks China
Beijing: After Iran, it is China which has been the latest target of the computer virus named Stuxnet. Dubbed as the world's "first cyber superweapon" by experts, the virus is infecting millions of computers around the country.

Stuxnet is capable of breaking into computers that control machinery at the heart of industry. After that it allows the attacker to assume control of critical systems like pumps, motors, alarms and valves. Apart from this, it can also explode factory boilers, destroy gas pipelines or even cause a nuclear plant to malfunction.

The malware is specially designed to weaken plants and damage industrial systems, instead of stealing personal data. Once Stuxnet successfully penetrates factory computers in China, those industries may collapse, which would damage China's national security, said an engineer surnamed Wang at antivirus service provider Rising.

As per the report of the official Xinhua news agency, the attacks had so far infected more than six million individual accounts and nearly 1,000 corporate accounts around the country.

The Stuxnet computer worm -- a piece of malicious software (malware) which copies itself and sends itself on to other computers in a network -- was first publicly identified in June. It was found lurking on Siemens systems in India, Indonesia, Pakistan and elsewhere, but the heaviest infiltration appears to be in Iran, according to software security researchers.

Yu Xiaoqiu, an analyst with the Information Technology Security Evaluation Centre, downplayed the malware threat. "So far we don't see any severe damage done by the virus," Yu was quoted by the Global Times as saying.

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