The Stuxnet computer virus has been labelled as the world's "first cyber superweapon." It is speculated that it was first designed to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. However, it has found its way to millions of computers in China.
Imagine a computer virus that allows the hacker full access of critical systems. The virus can literally make factory boilers explode or make a nuclear power plant malfunction. Experts now fear that the Stuxnet computer worm has infected millions of computers around China, according to Agence-France Presse.
The Stuxnet virus – malware that copies itself and sends itself onto other computers on a network – was originally designed to sabotage plants and attack industrial systems. It is believed that it was first designed to be used as an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Instead, the worm may now obliterate China’s national security because industries may collapse.
According to an anonymous expert at Rising International, more than 6 million individual accounts and approximately 1,000 corporate accounts have been infected. However, an analyst at China Information Technology Security Evaluation Centre, Yu Xiaoqu, said that there has yet been any damage inflicted by the virus.
“New viruses are common nowadays. Both personal Internet surfers and Chinese pillar companies don't need to worry about it at all. They should be alert but not too afraid of it,” said Xiaoqu.
The virus first became public in June when it was discovered on Siemens systems in India, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan. A top U.S. cybersecurity official of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, Sean McGurk, told reporters that it is unknown who is behind the virus or what its purpose is, reports the Jakarta Globe.
“One of our hardest jobs is attribution and intent,” said McGurk. “It's very difficult to say 'This is what it was targeted to do.’”
Ynet News reports that one of the worm’s viruses is named Myrtus, which refers to the biblical name Esther.