This past year we got to see the true future of hacking and it’s not the Russian mafia and spammers. This year Google users suffered multiple security breaches as the Chinese government sought to get revenge on Google’s refusal to filter search results for Chinese citizens. But most notably 2010 shall be remembered as the year the first virus was discovered that was specifically manufactured to target one countries computer systems.
Stuxnet first gained attention in the security community last June. Evidence has since been discovered to show that the worm has been in the wild since June 2009. It first seemed to be of a little interest a worm similar to Conflicker and using various zero day attacks. The worm was spreading but strangely seemed harmless.
However it was soon discovered the worm had a hidden payload. A payload that would only be triggered to attack very specific and rare systems. The worm would only attack Siemens mainframes and more specifically only Siemens mainframes being used in the Iranian nuclear program.
To make that clear someone, somewhere, hired a very knowledgeable and expensive team of people to develop a program that would propagate through the internet and attack a very specific target. Computers of thousands of ordinary everyday people have been turned into zombie boxes by a multinational group of espionage agencies. At this point no one is sure what countries are responsible, but evidence and safe money are pointing to a join United States and Israeli project.
Viruses, Malware, Spyware, and Trojans are now npo longer reserved for the criminal underground.