Impact and the Vulnerability of the Stuxnet Worm - Essay Prowess

Impact and the Vulnerability of the Stuxnet Worm

Impact and the Vulnerability of the Stuxnet Worm


is a worm that infects computers running Windows operating system that are
connected in a network. It primarily spreads through USB sticks which enable
its entrance into computers and networks not necessarily connected to the
internet. The worm propagates through different mechanisms both unknown and unpatched
vulnerabilities, once it is inside the network. Surprisingly, the worm does not
directly target these Windows computers; instead it targets specific models of Siemens
Programmable Logic Controllers. The target Modules include the Siemens S7-300
series if PLCs. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are industrial control
systems that are embedded in automated industrial control systems. These
industrial systems include nuclear power plants, chemical plants, pipelines and
oil refinery industries. A good example is the Stuxnet worm effect that was experienced
in Iran on June, 2010.  This was 500
kilobyte Stuxnet worm which infected over 14 industries in Iran; most notably a
uranium enrichment plant (Kerr & Rollins, 2010).

 Stuxnet looks for PLCs and does nothing to the
Windows computers if it does not get any PLC in the targeted network. If a PLC
exists in the target Windows computer network, it infects the controller
software. It then reads and changes certain bit of data in the controller
software of the controlled PLCs. Since PLCs are programmed differently, its
effects are variably unpredictable. This makes man people believe that it is
targeting specific controllers and networks in specific locations. Stuxnet worm
has the tendency to install its own driver on Windows computer using stolen
legitimate certificates. With

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