The Stuxnet Worm


Stuxnet is a computer worm that targets industrial control systems that are used to monitor and control large scale industrial facilities like power plants, dams, waste processing systems and similar operations. It allows the attackers to take control of these systems without the operators knowing. This is the first attack we’ve seen that allows hackers to manipulate real-world equipment, which makes it very dangerous.



It’s like nothing we’ve seen before – both in what it does, and how it came to exist. It is the first computer virus to be able to wreak havoc in the physical world. It is sophisticated, well-funded, and there are not many groups that could pull this kind of threat off. It is also the first cyberattack we’ve seen specifically targeting industrial control systems.


For more information on this threat, go to Additional Details.


How can this affect me?

It does not appear that Stuxnet targets individuals. However, it can infect Windows systems, and we recommend that you protect yourself from this and other online threats.


How can I protect myself?

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CNN Interview with Gerry Egan of Symantec


Additional Details

The worm is made up of complex computer code that requires lots of different skills to put it together. Symantec security experts estimate it took five to ten people to work on this project for six months. In addition, knowledge of industrial control systems was needed along with access to such systems to do quality assurance testing; again indicating that this was a highly organized and well-funded project.


W32.Stuxnet Dossier


For more information, read the following Symantec security blog posts:

Stuxnet: A Breakthrough, November 12
Stuxnet: Target Still Unknown, November 3
Fake Stuxnet cleaner literally cleans up your computer, October 15
Detecting PLC Infections, October 8
W32.Stuxnet Dossier, September 30
Stuxnet Infection of Step 7 Projects, September 26
Stuxnet Before the .lnk File Vulnerability, September 24
Exploring the Stuxnet PLC Infection Process, September 21
Stux to Be You, September 21
Stuxnet Print Spooler Zero-Day Vulnerability not a Zero-Day at All?, September 17
Stuxnet P2P component, September 17
Stuxnet Using Three Additional Zero-Day Vulnerabilities, September 14
Stuxnet Introduces the First Known Rootkit for Industrial Control Systems, August 6
Sneakernet Revisited, August 5
W32. Stuxnet Variants, July 29
Distilling W32.Stuxnet Components, July 22
W32.Stuxnet Network Information, July 22
Hackers Behind Stuxnet, July 21
W32. Stuxnet - Commonly Asked Questions, July 16