Stuxnet Prober: We're Asleep to Deadly Potential

Hundreds could now launch copycat attacks, warns security expert
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 23, 2011 4:47 AM CDT

(Newser) – The man behind the discovery of the vicious Stuxnet malware that targeted the Iranian nuclear power system warns that we remain "asleep" at the switch when it comes to protecting ourselves against the growing danger from the cyberweapon. The computer establishment has "failed to address the threat of copycat attacks," warns German computer security expert Ralph Langner. "With every day cyber weapon technology proliferates, the understanding of how Stuxnet works spreads more and more. All the vulnerabilities exploited are still there. Nobody cares."

He warns that cyber seizure of systems that control "facilities like power, water and chemical facilities that process poisonous gases ... could lead to mass casualties, but we still don't have any significant level of cybersecurity for them." Langner claims no one wants to spend the money it will take for adequate protection. But it "will be definitely more costly if we wait until organized crime, terrorists, or nation states make their move first," he tells the Christian Science Monitor. "The big problem we have right now is that Stuxnet has enabled hundreds of wannabe attackers to do essentially the same thing. Before, a Stuxnet-type attack could have been created by maybe five people. Now it's more like 500 who could do this." (Read more cyber weapon stories.)

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