Hmmm, so who is behind the powerful computer worm that is infecting Iran's nuclear station?

Creating the malicious code required a team of as many as five to ten highly educated and well-funded hackers. Government experts and outside analysts say they haven’t been able to determine who developed it or why.

Hmmm, let’s see now, who has the motive, the money, the technology and the expertise to pull something like this off? Hmmm, can’t think of anyone. Maybe it was Jack Bauer?)

The Beast The malicious code, called Stuxnet, was designed to go after several “high-value targets,” said Liam O Murchu, manager of security response operations at Symantec Corp.

But both O Murchu and U.S. government experts say there’s no proof it was developed to target nuclear plants in Iran, despite recent speculation from some researchers.

The malware has infected as many as 45,000 computer systems around the world. Siemens AG, the company that designed the system targeted by the worm, said it has infected 15 of the industrial control plants it was apparently intended to infiltrate. It’s not clear what sites were infected, but they could include water filtration, oil delivery, electrical and nuclear plants.

None of those infections has adversely affected the industrial systems, according to Siemens.

U.S. officials said last month that the Stuxnet was the first malicious computer code specifically created to take over systems that control the inner workings of industrial plants.

The Energy Department has warned that a successful attack against critical control systems “may result in catastrophic physical or property damage and loss.” (Oh, my!)

Symantec’s analysis of the code, O Murchu said, shows that nearly 60 percent of the computers infected with Stuxnet are in Iran. An additional 18 percent are in Indonesia. Less than 2 percent are in the U.S.

“This would not be easy for a normal group to put together,” said O Murchu. He said “it was either a well-funded private entity“ or it ”was a government agency or state sponsored project” created by people familiar with industrial control systems. {—}

In plain terms, the worm was able to burrow into some operating systems that included software designed by Siemens AG, by exploiting a vulnerability in several versions of Microsoft Windows. Unlike a virus, which is created to attack computer code, a worm is designed to take over systems, such as those that open doors or turn physical processes on or off.

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