By Greg Mills
The Stuxnet Windows worm I wrote about recently has begun to spread uncontrollably through personal PCs in Iran, as well as being found in completely isolated industrial servers not even hooked up to the Internet.
It's believed that there are now five previously unknown Windows vulnerabilities that have been used instead of four. Reports from Iran indicate that "the worm is mutating and wrecking further havoc on computerized industrial equipment. The attack is still ongoing and new versions of this virus are spreading." Talk about the Windows tax penalty ...
From what I have read, the worm hides in blocks of the Windows operating system code used to do utilitarian functions of a PC. The worm is hard to find and has a lot of tricks that it uses to hijack systems for industrial control devices. It misdirects operators with wrong information, reverses the instructions at the controlled device, as in "close the valve" instead of "open the valve" (not good if you happen to be talking about the cooling system on a nuclear reactor.)
It also sends data that appears to be encrypted out of the country if it detects a link to the Internet. The worm uses stolen certificates to write and hide further disruptive effects in the code for another day; in short is it one mean virus. This may well delay the nuclear reactor going on line any time soon. Nuclear reactors rely upon complex computer controlled systems to read conditions and operate the reactor. This is sort of like a stroke in human medical terms.
Intelligence sources in Israel who keep close tabs on the Iranian threat report that the Bushehr nuclear plant is indeed quite infected, despite adamant claims to the contrary by Iranian officials. They admit that personal computers of the reactor staff are infected, and you have to think using thumb USB drives on infected PCs and also on uninfected servers has already spread this malware.
The Windows OS is almost all there is in third world countries. Ironically, the bulk of early infections are reported to have been on pirated versions of Windows. The worm had now spread far and wide. It couldn't happened to a more deserving group of people. Ironic that Malcrosoft Windows is the weakness in a multi-billion dollar installation.
The Iranians are calling the worm "an unprovoked, full-scale, cyber terror aggression and have been rattling the saber with talk of a "long term war against the biggest and most powerful enemies." I think that means the USA and Israel. Sounds a lot like the joker in North Korea to me: always threatening war, while the people suffer.
The Stuxnet worm is nothing compared to an electro-magnetic pulse bomb that would instantly cook every microprocessor in a circle of hundreds of miles. A small nuclear or conventional explosive EM pulse bomb (prepared to create the electro-magnetic cascade pulse effect), exploded at just the right altitude over central Iran could return the Islamic Revolution back to the technology of the 6th century. There are those in the world who think that is a really good idea. The Taliban would be right at home.
The EM pulse bomb wouldt kill hardly anyone right off, but every wrist watch, computer, dishwasher, TV, VCR, airplane, car, truck, electric motor, refrigerator, freezer, missile launch system, industrial control device, power grid control, water and oil pipelines, refineries and anything else I didn't think of that uses a microprocessor, would be made worthless junk, before they knew what hit them. If you have a pacemaker you might die. Iran has to know, if sufficiently justified, the US and or Israel is able and willing to use an electro-magnetic pulse weapon on them. By the way, Macs are not immune to EM Pulse weapons. Could this be why Iranian president Ahmadinejad wears aluminum foil over his scalp and covers it with a wig?
I ordered my AppleTV device Sept. 5 and got a shipping notice this morning. The device is being shipped out of China by FedEx. I will keep you posted.
Thats Greg's Bite for today. And remember "friends don't let friends do Windows."
(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; His email is firstname.lastname@example.org )