NovaRed calls for preparations to face possible Stuxnet worm threats

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chile ought to prepare itself to better face possible industrial consequences of the Stuxnet worm, Chilean IT solutions provider NovaRed's regional security services manager, Andrés Pérez, warned in a company press release.

According to Pérez, Chile needs to pay attention to Stuxnet, as the worm or its variants could place the security of businesses and services at risk. Pérez said Chile is not a significant attack target, but the worm has still managed to reach the country.

Even with a low percentage of Stuxnet attack rates, Chile still ranked in the top 15 countries affected by the worm, according to Pérez. However, he said NovaRed monitors 70,000 computers in Chile, none of which are currently infected with Stuxnet.

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Pérez said the majority of Chilean companies operate control networks through the worm's target, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), thus making infection a possibility. Pérez said that due to an overall lack of strong security conscience in the country, NovaRed wants to push an agenda emphasizing the need for protection against this threat.

One way to protect against Stuxnet is keeping company computer networks separate from control networks, something which currently is uncommon in Chile, according to Pérez. Additionally, Pérez advises implementing this type of precaution in power companies, large mines, sanitation companies and other organizations critical to the country's development.

Stuxnet appeared in 2010 and is the first worm created to control industrial systems. NovaRed said it has the ability to affect a country's critical infrastructure and could put the continuity of important systems at risk.

It propagates and infects similarly to other worms, but seeks out specific software that controls PLCs, systems which are used in all productive and manufacturing processes. Stuxnet infects the computer administrating the PLC, changes the programming code and begins manipulating them to create a breakdown in machinery.