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Iran Has Uncovered A New Computer Virus Targeting The Country As Part Of An Ongoing Cyber-Attack

Author : Apple Tan

Iran has uncovered another computer virus targeting the country as part of an ongoing cyber-attack campaign. Iranian military official accused the United States and Israel of launching a "Stars" virus to compromise Iranian systems.
Recently, Iran alleges that Siemens a well-known engineering company in Germany assisted USA and Israel in unleashing a PC-virus created for damaging its nuclear plants. They stated that the company aided in launching cyber-attacks on Iran with the Stuxnet after giving details of SCADA, the control system Siemens designed for Iran's nuclear facilities, to Jerusalem and Washington.
Now Iranian military official, Gholam-Reza Jalali, claims that the U.S. has launched a second cyber attack using a worm they have designated as Stars, which has been infiltrating government computer systems. Its capabilities and actual target are still unknown. "Certain characteristics about the Stars worm have been identified, including that it is compatible with the (targeted) system and that the damage is very slight in the initial stage, and it is likely to be mistaken for executable files of the government," he said.
The emergence of sophisticated malwares such as Stuxnet and Stars may be able to take control of industrial equipment and disable the utility and energy infrastructure. Experts believe these malicious software was designed to cripple systems that could help build an Iranian bomb.
In a recent report on Stuxnet, the security firm Symantec said that it would have taken a team of between five and 10 developers, six months to create the worm. The worm targets industrial control systems, known as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), made by Siemens.While PLCs are used to control a wide variety of automated systems, it is believed that it was those inside Iran's nuclear facilities that were the intended target. Analysts who have examined the Stuxnet code say it could have been used to damage centrifuges which play a crucial role in the process of enriching uranium for both nuclear
Stuxnet worm was spread primarily by USB drives. The worm reportedly mutated and infected at least 30,000 industrial systems over the course of the year. Nearly half the IT executives in the electric industry sector around the world said they had found Stuxnet on their systems in a recent McAfee report looking at cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure.
Iranian officials acknowledged in December that Stuxnet affected a number of centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, but claimed scientists had discovered and neutralized the worm before it caused serious damage.
Recently, Energy Resources, a subsidiary of Florida Power & Light, claimed they discovered vulnerability in the Cisco security management software, and was able to hack into the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems used to control the turbines.
Countries should prepare it to tackle future worms, which could pose disruptive danger to systems. Security firms are in the dark about the malwares, since the Iranians have offered no samples to researchers. Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos said, "Unfortunately, we can't tell you much about this Stars virus. As far as we know, we don't have a sample in our malware collection - and we would really need the Iranian authorities to share what they have seen with the anti-malware community, so we can delve a little deeper."
The number of cyber attacks is only going to increase if organizations fail to pay attention on the vulnerabilities of their network security. Organizations need to implement robust Internet security initiatives to protect their network and their customer's information, including hiring highly trained information security experts in order to avoid security breaches. Information security professionals can increase their information security knowledge and skills by embarking on highly technical and advanced training programs. EC-Council has launched the Center of Advanced Security Training (CAST), to address the deficiency of highly technically skilled information security professionals.
CAST will provide advanced technical security training covering topics such as Advanced Penetration Testing, Digital Mobile Forensics training, Application Security, Advanced Network Defense, and Cryptography. These highly technical and advanced information security training will be offered at all EC-Council hosted conferences and events, and through specially selected EC-Council Authorized Training Centers.

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About EC-Council
EC-Council is a member-based organization that certifies individuals in various e-business and security skills. It is the owner and developer of the world famous Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) course, Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) program, License Penetration Tester (LPT) program and various other information security training programs offered in over 84 countries around the globe. EC-Council has trained over 90,000 individuals in technical security training and certified more than 40,000 security professionals. EC-Council has launched the Center of Advanced Security Training (CAST), to address the deficiency in the lack of highly technically skilled information security professionals.

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Tags:   advanced security training, information security training, technical security training

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Submitted : 2011-04-28    Word Count : 795    Times Viewed: 439