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Another Stuxnet-like virus on the loose

Remember Stuxnet, the exotic and sophisticated computer virus apparently designed to ruin Iran’s secret nuclear fuel centrifuges? Looks like somebody borrowed some of the Stuxnet code, created a new superbug, and set it loose.

The mysterious Stuxnet worm — perhaps the most powerful ever created — managed to infiltrate computer systems in Iran and do damage to that nation’s nuclear research program. The new worm, dubbed Duqu, has no such targeted purpose. But it shares so much code with the original Stuxnet that researchers at Symantec Corp. say it must either have been created by the same group that authored Stuxnet, or by a group that somehow managed to obtain Stuxnet’s source code. Either way, Duqu’s authors are brilliant, and mean business, said Symantec’s Vikrum Thakur.
“There is a common trait among the (computers) being attacked,” he said. “They involve industrial command and control systems.”
Symantec speculates that Duqu is merely gathering intelligence as a precursor to a future industrial-strength attack on infrastructure computers.

If I were the CIA, I’d put some assets on the payroll at Symantec, McAfee, and any other anti-virus powerhouses, and have them create something to pair with Stuxnet or Duqu. I’d get it piggybacked onto the antivirus apps, so that when Iran tries to clean up its system, the antivirus/virus combo behaves like a software version of a binary chemical weapon. Imagine the reaction.

Iranian nuclear technician“Ali! Did you run the virus scan?”
“Yes, Kamal! But why does the centrifuge shake even harder and belch green smoke?”
“I have no idea, Ali, but I think it may have something to do with my screensaver suddenly being nothing but pictures of The Girls of The IDF.”
“I will re-scan every computer at once, Kamal.”

Hey, I can dream.