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Stuxnet, and the End of the World As We Know It

March 29, 2011

If you wanted proof that cybersecurity has reached the mainstream then you need look no further than the pages of April’s Vanity Fair magazine. And, before you do a double take, yes, you read it right – Vanity Fair has dedicated more than 7,000 words to the Stuxnet worm. It’s not what many would expect from the monthly de facto arbiter of popular culture, fashion, and politics, but it’s an excellent piece; we’d go so far as to say it’s a must-read for anybody working in the security industry.

Eugene Kaspersky, Founder and CEO, Kaspersky Lab, and a prominent figure in the discovery and entymology of Stuxnet.  Photo credit: Vanity Fair.

Why? Because it goes beyond the technology to provide a complete history of the events around last year’s attack, the cultural and political history and expert comment from those involved first-hand in trying to figure out how Stuxnet worked and the conclusions they came to. Don’t get me wrong, there is enough technology in the piece to keep even the most hardened blackhat happy – but it’s also explained in terms your Grandmother will understand.

I wrote a post about the realities of the problem – as we see it – at the end of January, when the OECD published a report suggesting that the term “Cyberwarfare” is over-hyped. When you read the Vanity Fair article, you start to see the real scale of the problem that CISOs and enterprise security analysts face every day, as they attempt to protect their networks from advanced persistent threats (APTs) like Stuxnet.

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