Raimund discusses lessons learned about the side effects of recent government sponsored targeted attacks, such as stuxnet and flame.
[transcript] Today’s espionage is not conducted by James Bond-like agent wearing fancy tuxedos anymore. They are conducted behind a computer screen, when an attacker controlling its code remotely; all the code is written in a way that it’s spreading and damaging its target; like Stuxnet.
For long it was rumored that Stuxnet was written by governments; now this is confirmed, and it is also confirmed that Stuxnet went out of control and not only was contained within an Uranium enrichment facility in Iran, but was spreading widely. We saw the wide spreading thanks to our Smart Protection Network. And it was scary to see how many Symantec Win-CCs scattered control systems have been affected, especially in India. C-supervisory control and data acquisition systems are there to control critical structures. How big was the quantitative damage of Stuxnet, due to this? Difficult to figure this out.
And I wonder, what are its legal implications are if a government by accident shuts down an infrastructure of another government. Okay, I’m not a lawyer, but a security expert, and I wonder why Stuxnet had such an aggressive distribution mechanism. Why was it written in a way that it replicated beyond its target? If it were just have been contained, a contained targeted attack we would not be aware of Stuxnet and the digital underground could not have created an attack toolkit; DUQU, which is available for purchase on the digital underground. What about Flame? Is this another APT who went out of control? The lesson for me it is difficult to control Malware, since there will be unwanted side effects.
And since actors behind they should ask themselves ‘do they really want to start a cyber-tack, a cyber-war?’ Because, if this really gets out of control, this could attack their own infrastructure. Reminds me of the Terminator movies or often war games. Why does Malware spat an ethical and a crime in most legal stations? Let’s always remember this.