Earlier Version of Stuxnet Malware Identified

By Ed Silverstein March 01, 2013

Stuxnet, a dangerous version of malware, actually came into being earlier than first thought.

It was recently reported in a new study that Symantec Security Response identified Stuxnet version 0.5, which was present between 2007 and 2009, with a variety perhaps being in operation as early as 2005. 

The earliest version of Stuxnet was originally believed to be 1.001, created in 2009.

The Stuxnet virus found global attention after it was apparently used to attack Iran’s nuclear program – and although multi-state negotiations are continuing with Iran, there are new worries about where the Middle Eastern country is going with the deadly program.  

In addition, Stuxnet 0.5 stopped spreading on July 4, 2009. But Symantec reportedly detected “a small number of dormant infections (Stuxnet 0.5 files….) worldwide over the past year,” according to a company blog post.

Stuxnet was used against the programmable logic controllers (PLC) which were used in uranium enrichment technology in Natanz, Iran during 2010. The earlier version of Stuxnet included a 417 PLC attack code via Stuxnet 0.5.

Iran improved its cyber capabilities following the Stuxnet attack, according to TechZone360. It was widely reported that the U.S. and Israel developed the Stuxnet worm.

On the other hand, the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies claimed Iran was responsible for recent cyber attacks on American financial institutions.

It was also recently reported that Iran is installing improved centrifuges for enriching uranium in Natanz.

"Iran's notice that it would be installing more advanced centrifuges into the large underground facility at Natanz is a worrisome development," said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, quoted by news reports. "Iran had indicated that it would be installing as many as 3,000 of these new models. If so, that could be a game changer...The new models are said to be from two to four times as efficient as the ones that Iran now employs and if they introduce them in large number like this, it could lead to a doubling of capacity for Natanz.”

“The more capacity for enrichment that Iran has,” he said, “the faster it could spurt to breaking out of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and producing nuclear weapons."

Iran and several nations will hold new talks in March and April over Iranian nuclear program, according to Israel National News. Theoretically if successful, the nations will reach a compromise with Iran and then lessen worldwide financial sanctions against the country.

There is skepticism over Iran’s intentions, however. A new concern arose after Britain's Daily Telegraph recently published photos indicating that Iran's Arak heavy-water production plant has been activated – seen as a way Iran can produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb.




Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

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