Stuxnet clone found, possibly preparing for power plant attacks

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Washington, Oct.19 (ANI): Security researchers have detected a new Trojan, scarily similar to the infamous Stuxnet worm, which could disrupt computers controlling power plants, oil refineries and other critical infrastructure networks.

The Trojan, dubbed "Duqu" by the security firm Symantec, appears, based on its code, to have been written by the same authors as the Stuxnet worm, which last July was used to cripple an Iranian nuclear-fuel processing plant, Fox News reports.

The original Stuxnet was specifically designed to compromise an industrial control system by manipulating the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software on which these facilities rely on for automation. Duqu may have its sights set on the same target, but it approaches from a different angle.

"Duqu shares a great deal of code with Stuxnet; however, the payload is completely different," researchers for the security firm Symantec wrote on its Security Response blog.

Instead of directly targeting the SCADA system, Duqu gathers "intelligence data and assets from entities, such as industrial control system manufacturers, in order to more easily conduct a future attack against another third party. The attackers are looking for information such as design documents that could help them mount a future attack on an industrial control facility."

"Duqu is essentially the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack," the researchers added. (ANI)