Stuxnet Worm Still at Work (Update)

According to a Fox News Report on December 9, 2010, the Stuxnet Worm is still causing chaos in Iran. After months of denials, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad finally admitted that the worm had penetrated Iran’s nuclear sites, but he said it the stuxnet worm was detected and controlled. The program, which was “designed to take over the control systems and evade detection,” infected the computers at Iran’s two nuclear sites and contrary to what Ahmadinejad’s statement, it has proven to be very successful, according to American and European experts.

The Stuxnet worm, named after initials found in its code, is now considered the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever created. First discovered in July 2010, the Stuxnet worm has the ability to “remotely seize control of industrial systems” according to CNET news. Many speculate that the worm was created by Israel or the U.S. The worm works by exploiting three holes in Windows. It targets computers running Siemens software, which is commonly used industrial control systems. It must be noted that one hole has been patched. According to a project manager at Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, the Stuxnet worm did not cause any damage to major systems of the plant. However, the worm did infect at least 30,000 computers.

Like other cyberweapons of this kind, patching holes, cleaning up the damage done, and implementing prevention and protection controls is costly and time-consuming. Just think, back in 2008 a cyberattack on the US military’s central command (Centcom), which unleashed a self-propagating malicious worm into the system, took around 14 months to eliminate. Unfortunately, the most sophisticated worms cannot be eliminated or contained by simply downloading a malicious software removal tool. Fortunately, most other worms can.

About Computer Worms and Malicious Software Removal Tools

Computer viruses and worms are pretty much one in the same. No matter if you have a worm or a virus, these malicious software programs can cause your computer to run slow, the can make it vulnerable to other worms and viruses, or they can complete disable your system. A worm or virus is a malicious software program. A worm or virus can either slow your system down to a crawl or disable it completely.

Unlike a Trojan Horse, which is a malicious software program that cannot reproduce or self-replicate, a worm virus has the ability to multiply at a rapid pace. A worm or virus can spread from computer to computer, travel across networks, copy address books and send itself out to everyone in it. A worm or virus can even freeze or disable entire servers. Some of the most sophisticated worms and viruses can actually tunnel into your computer and give users remote access to your computer.

A Trojan Horse may sound less harmful than a worm virus, but it can still cause damage to your computer. A Trojan or “Trojan Horse” will present itself as a helpful program, but once you install it on your computer, it will cripple your system almost immediately. A Trojan Horse may appear in the form of a file or software program that has been sent from a legitimate source. The Trojan Horse will install and a number of things can happen.

Some Trojans will simply rearrange your desktop or add annoying icons to your desktop and others will delete files. Some of the more advanced Trojans can open the door to predators looking to steal your identity. These types of Trojans can give users unlimited access to your system. Trojans do not reproduce or replicate. Worms and viruses, on the other hand, can reproduce, self-replicate and infect other files.

Microsoft offers a free software removal tool called Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. It checks Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 computers for and helps remove infections by specific, prevalent malicious software including Blaster Worm, Sasser, and Mydoom. When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed. The tool creates a log file named mrt.log in the %WINDIR%\debug folder. Version 1.30 adds Win32/Allaple to the list of malicious software this tool detects.

You can download directly from the Microsoft website or Cnet.com.

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