Stuxnet Virus

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Date Submitted: 05/18/2013 03:26 PM

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Stuxnet Virus

Stuxnet virus was purportedly authored and spread by the governments of United States of America and Israel. It is also alleged that the virus was created to disable Iranian nuclear power plant called Busheur. The virus attacks windows computers and it was normally spread through external drives such as memory sticks, flash disks, etc. This would enable the virus to be spread to computers that are usually not networked or connected to the internet. Once the virus was inside a computer it used other mechanisms to spread to other computers in the network.

Once the virus is in a windows computer it did not affect its performance because it was designed to affect specific models of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). Some of the targeted PLCs were those made by Siemens used in many automated systems such as chemical plants, refineries, nuclear power plants, etc. These Programmable Logic Controllers are mostly controlled through computers, thus Stuxnet search for Siemens software used in the computer for running the PLC.

If the infected computer does not have the PLC software, the virus does nothing. However if the computer has the targeted software, it would infect it and manages to access the PLCs and changes bits of data in it. Detecting any changes in the PLCs was not easy because most the end users do not understand the programming bit of the devices. Analysis of the virus indicated that it was very specific in its operations leading to the suggestion that it was specifically created to affect specific PLCs situated in specific regions. This further explains that the authors of the virus were aware of its purpose.

Upon establishing control in a computer with Siemens PLC software, the virus first compromised frequency converters that were controlled by the PLCs. The frequency converters regulated the speeds of the motors through alteration of feed power. The motors are set to operate at...