Burns Hudson
Kevin Smith
Spread on Microsoft Windows
Developed June 2009
Spreading began late 2009/early 2010
Discovered in July 2010
o Microsoft out-of-band patch released August 2010 - .lnk exploit
o More patches with the September 'Patch Tuesday' - print spooler exploit
Around half a megabyte
C, C++, and other object oriented languages
What the news says it was
Iranian centrifuge destroyer!
o It's one goal was to destroy the Iranian nuclear program
Developed by the United States and Israel
Contributed to the Gulf oil leak
'Mission: Impossible'-like virus
It will kill your unborn children
o Assuming they are born in a hospital using PLC machines
What it really was
• Malware that spread on networks to infect systems running WinCC and PCS
• Took advantage of the fact that PLCs are usually unsecured
o They are behind firewalls and run by other computers that ARE secured
• Once inside, had the ability to reprogram PLC controlling machinery
o Gave the possibility of altering how machinery being controlled will run
*PLC: Programmable Logic Controller
How it did it
USB drive for initial infection, then spread on network
.lnk file exploit
o As soon as the shortcut is displayed, exploit is run
Windows vulnerabilities
o EoP
 Task scheduler
o MS08-067 (Conficker) - Already patched!!!! (but not on these systems)
o Printspooler exploit
o Used at least 4 previously undiscovered vulnerabilities
Searched for WinCC and PCS 7 SCADA management programs
o Tried default Siemens passwords to gain access
o If access is granted, PLC software could be reprogrammed
Used stolen signed digital certificates
o looked like genuine software to antivirus scanners
*EoP: Elevation of Privileges
How it did it (cont.)
Installed a RPC server
o Machines check on other machines running Stuxnet and do a version check
o Newer versions automatically push their version onto the other machines
o Older versions automatically request newer version to be pushed
 If central server goes down, updates still spread
*RPC: Remote Procedure Call
What a story! I mean theory...
"As the story goes, the Stuxnet worm was designed and released by a government--the U.S.
and Israel are the most common suspects--specifically to attack the Bushehr nuclear power
plant in Iran. How could anyone not report that? It combines computer attacks, nuclear
power, spy agencies and a country that's a pariah to much of the world. The only problem
with the story is that it's almost entirely speculation." - Bruce Schneier
What we "know" it does:
• Infects windows
• Looks for Siemens SIMATIC WinCC/Step 7 controller software
• Reads and changes bits in the PLC
• Spreads through network/USB
• Various updating mechanisms
What a story! I mean theory...
The media focuses on these types of quotes:
The Stuxnet worm is a "groundbreaking" piece of malware so devious in its use of unpatched
vulnerabilities, so sophisticated in its multipronged approach, that the security researchers who tore it
apart believe it may be the work of state-backed professionals.
"I'd call it groundbreaking," said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior antivirus researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
In comparison, other notable attacks, like the one dubbed Aurora that hacked Google's network and
those of dozens of other major companies, were child's play.
But it gets worse. Since reverse engineering chunks of Stuxnet's massive code, senior US cyber
security experts confirm what Mr. Langner, the German researcher, told the Monitor: Stuxnet is
essentially a precision, military-grade cyber missile deployed early last year to seek out and destroy
one real-world target of high importance – a target still unknown.
What a story! I mean theory...
Once you pop you just can't stop:

The word "myrtus" appears in the worm:
o an artifact that the compiler left, possibly by accident.
o refers to Queen Esther, also known as Hadassah; she saved the Persian Jews from genocide in
the 4th century B.C. "Hadassah" means "myrtle" in Hebrew.
Sets a registry value of "19790509":
o a date
o refers to the date Persian Jew Habib Elghanain was executed in Tehran for spying for Israel.
The hex 0xDEADF007 appears in the worm:
o Symantec suggests it may mean Dead Fool or Dead Foot, a term referring to an airplane engine
o "This suggests failure of the targeted system is a possible aim, though whether Stuxnet aims to
simply halt the system or blow it up remains unknown."
What a story! I mean theory...
These markers COULD:
Point to Israel as the author.
Point to being deliberately planted by someone who wanted to frame Israel
Point to being deliberately planted by Israel, who wanted us to think they were planted by someone
who wanted to frame Israel.
When do you stop?
• Deepwater Horizon did have some Siemens PLC systems on it!
• Did stuxnet contribute to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill?!?!
Stuxnet's Authors:
• extremely careful to not leave any traces
What a story! I mean theory...
We don't know who wrote Stuxnet.
o Government
o Individual
o Research Group
We don't know why.
o Criminal worm to demonstrate capability
o Research efforts
o Social/Political
We don't know what the target is, or if Stuxnet reached it.
o control alarm systems
o access controls on doors
o motors
o conveyor belts
o pumps
o chemical plants
o oil refineries
o pipelines
o nuclear power plants!?!?!
What a story! I mean theory...
Stuxnet is sophisticated.
It is fun to speculate its purposes.
But we do not know the author's true intentions.