Did Stuxnet infect the Russians and the ISS?

posted at 8:01 am on November 13, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

This is one of those stories where I really need to set aside all of the original questions I had about a particular situation and just move on to a whole new set of questions. (For the record, when the entire Stuxnet news originally broke, the number one question I had was, why do we know about this? Who in the heck is leaking this kind of incredibly useful information?) In any event, at least according to the Times of Israel, the final chapter in the Stuxnet saga has not yet been written, and the virus is busily making its way around the world… and beyond.

A Russian nuclear power plant was reportedly “badly infected” by the rogue Stuxnet virus, the same malware that reportedly disrupted Iran’s nuclear program several years ago. The virus then spread to the International Space Station via a Stuxnet-infected USB stick transported by Russian cosmonauts.

Speaking to journalists in Canberra, Australia, last week, Eugene Kaspersky, head of the anti-virus and cyber protection firm that bears his name, said he had been tipped off about the damage by a friend who works at the Russian plant.

A cautionary tale about this from Doug Mataconis.

That, of course, is the danger with any kind of cyber warfare. Once the methods are out there, they are capable of being copied by anybody and turned against the people who originated the attack. Perhaps that’s a reason to be careful of what we’re doing here.

I suppose the first important thing to note here is that nobody is even implying that the US or Israel intentionally unleashed this on the Russians. (And if you didn’t run a scan on your thumb drive I don’t know what to tell you.) But is the risk of this getting loose enough of a reason to not do it in the first place? To me, that seems rather like saying that we shouldn’t come up with a faster fighter jet because somebody else might see it and build one too. We live in the computer age and that comes replete with computer virus attacks. And the benefit we got from the original effort seems to outweigh any later fallout. (At least thus far.)

Exit question: what did the virus do when it got loose on the International Space Station? It’s not like they’re running any centrifuges up there. Did it disable the Stephen Colbert treadmill? Make the space toilets explode? Your theories, as always, are welcome.


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(And if you didn’t run a scan on your thumb drive I don’t know what to tell you.)

Your assumption is that this is just another virus that can be easily detected…I suspect not.

right2bright on November 13, 2013 at 8:07 AM

Damn you, Ted Cruz!

Bishop on November 13, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Exit question: what did the virus do when it got loose on the International Space Station?

Wasn’t this the cause of the accident in Gravity?

Seriously, they probably figured out there was a problem when the system abruptly announced:

I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.

Happy Nomad on November 13, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Your theories, as always, are welcome.

Stuxnet disabled the cryo-tubs in which they were developing Alien-Human hybrids that were exact copies of world leaders who would then join to create a New World Order.

Or it was meant to make the space toilets explode. One or the other.

Bishop on November 13, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Exit question: what did the virus do when it got loose on the International Space Station? It’s not like they’re running any centrifuges up there. Did it disable the Stephen Colbert treadmill? Make the space toilets explode? Your theories, as always, are welcome.

It aimed the laser wearing shark at the UFO which housed Elvis and JFK and blew it up.

rbj on November 13, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Flight Control to Major Tom…..

Renee on November 13, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Or it was meant to make the space toilets explode. One or the other.

Bishop on November 13, 2013 at 8:14 AM

In space, nobody can hear a toilet explode.

Happy Nomad on November 13, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Wait until Israel unleashes the Kraaken virus…….bbbbbwwwwwhaahahahhhhaaaa.

Those thieving Ayatollahs won’t know what hit them.

PappyD61 on November 13, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Don’t forget about the ObamaCare xenomorphs. They will attach to your face and suck your plan away.

SparkPlug on November 13, 2013 at 8:20 AM

I suppose the first important thing to note here is that nobody is even implying that the US or Israel intentionally unleashed this on the Russians.

.
Sometimes incompetence looks intentional. Take healthcare.gov, for example. I wonder what the effect of Stuxnet would be if unleashed in the inner machinations of healthcare.gov. If there were no effect, then it would mean that healthcare.gov were more of adanget than Stuxnet, wouldn’t it?
.
Remember the phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help?” Yeah, me too… Stuxnet. healthcare.gov. Government. Great job, Democrats!

ExpressoBold on November 13, 2013 at 8:27 AM

Prolly GW doing a lil tinkering at his community college’s Intro to Programing class.

hillsoftx on November 13, 2013 at 8:28 AM

If there were no effect, then it would mean that healthcare.gov were more of a danger than Stuxnet, wouldn’t it?

.
Honestly, I should not even start typing before coffee kicks in…

ExpressoBold on November 13, 2013 at 8:29 AM

If you like your Stuxnet, you can keep your Stuxnet.

(Honestly, in spite of the pain this president is causing, I’m really liking the mocking we can get out of that one phrase. It’s pure Alinsky.)

turfmann on November 13, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Your theories, as always, are welcome.

Stuxnet disabled the cryo-tubs in which they were developing Alien-Human hybrids that were exact copies of world leaders who would then join to create a New World Order.

Or it was meant to make the space toilets explode. One or the other.

Bishop on November 13, 2013 at 8:14 AM

I think they already succeeded. Take a look around.

FOWG1 on November 13, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Prolly GW doing a lil tinkering at his community college’s Intro to Programing class.

hillsoftx on November 13, 2013 at 8:28 AM

.
Who the hell is GW?

ExpressoBold on November 13, 2013 at 8:54 AM

I first thought that headline read that Stuxnet infected ISIS. Mallory Archer would be pissed..

guido911 on November 13, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Stuxnet… Skynet?

Ukiah on November 13, 2013 at 9:01 AM

What did it infect? It was designed for a very specific purpose and only effected very specific equipment. Are they enriching uranium up there? Actually I wouldn’t put it past them.

Dr. Frank Enstine on November 13, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Your Stuxnet are belong to us.

freedomfirst on November 13, 2013 at 9:22 AM

wonder if healthcare.gov has stuxnet. maybe obama has a virus.

t8stlikchkn on November 13, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Something has infected the United States.

freedomfirst on November 13, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Who the hell is GW?

ExpressoBold on November 13, 2013 at 8:54 AM

It wasn’t me. I wasn’t there. And you couldn’t prove it if I did.

GWB on November 13, 2013 at 9:45 AM

So stuxnet turns out that the cause of HAL 9000 turned homicidal?

simkeith on November 13, 2013 at 9:45 AM

First, as the virus was not known, it would not be detected by scanning.

Second, the virus was targeted at specific equipment controllers that likely was not on the ISS etc.

aniptofar on November 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Hang on a sec… the two incidents are not related. Kaspersky mentioned that the space station had a virus on some systems, it was a virus designed to steal game passwords, and could have been found with a routine scan.

Later in the speech he mentioned that Stuxnet had been found in Russian nuclear facilities.

There are 140 or so laptops on the ISS, and the chances that they have random viruses from people with sloppy security habits is the same as any 140 PC’s in your office. Sad, but true.

The Register has a nice breakdown of it:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/13/space_station_malware_not_stuxnet/

jdfister on November 13, 2013 at 11:13 AM