Washington, June 24 (ANI): The United States' most powerful known cyber weapon, Stuxnet, which was created to infiltrate into Iran's nuclear fuel enrichment program, will shut down just after midnight Sunday.
According to Christian Science Monitor, Stuxnet infected some 130,000 computers worldwide, most of them related to Iran's nuclear fuel enrichment program.
At present, the program is still active and is going through various check functions and looking for a target to destroy.
But deep inside Stuxnet's labyrinth of software code are a few lines that will soon order the program to stop working altogether in a pre-programmed, belated and ultimately unsuccessful bid to prevent it from being detected and deciphered, computer forensic experts who have examined the program's code, said.
"Whoever was running this operation needed these programs to conduct a large number of highly targeted and clandestine operations against Iran and its allies," says John Bumgarner, a former Army intelligence officer and now research director for the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a nonprofit security think tank.
Congress lawmakers now are calling for an investigation into the leaking of the top-secret US operation code-named "Olympic Games" in which Stuxnet, a name that was given "the bug" by anti-virus firms that found it spreading on networks in 2010.
There's no relief either for worried cyber security experts, some of whom have called Stuxnet the digital equivalent of the first nuclear attack on Hiroshima.
They warn that Stuxnet's code provides a template and conceptual model for a far more destructive "son of Stuxnet" cyber weapon that could be deployed by other nation states or hacktivists for cyber attacks against power grids and other civilian infrastructure.
A prime target, they say, would be Stuxnet's own presumed creator, the US, which is to a far greater degree than its potential adversaries, including nations like North Korea and Iran, reliant on cyber-physical industrial control systems of the kind Stuxnet was specifically designed to infiltrate and destroy. (ANI)