Stuxnet: Wired but Unplugged

I've stopped maintaining Stuxnet resource pages recently, but occasionally I come across an article that adds something useful to the mix, or simply summarizes aspects of the Stuxnet story neatly and accurately. Besides, its authors must be feeling a little left out with all that fuss about TDL4. ;-)

A recent report in Wired gives the distinct impression that no-one but Symantec and Langner made any significant contributions to the body of knowledge about Stuxnet (well, there's a short reference to one of our blog articles – one of Pierre-Marc's, I think – but we did say quite a lot more than that.)

Still, there's no gainsaying the part Symantec played, especially in unravelling the Stuxnet payload, and it's that aspect that the Wired article summarizes pretty well, and it's well worth a read.

ESET Senior Research Fellow

Author David Harley, ESET

  • Carl Seiler

    I thought the Vanity Fair article (April ’11) featured Kaspersky a bit too heavily while the Wired article seemed to me also to sound like it was only Symantec working on it. As a end user with a casual interest in security software, I was struck by the differences in the two articles and wondered what the real story might be. It also got me wondering if it just happens that who is featured depends the authors first contacted, perhaps based on their own experience with anti-virus on their own computers.

    • David Harley

      The real story as I see it is that quite a few companies played a part in this. VirusBlokAda certainly kicked things off, Symantec did some great work on the payload, and Microsoft, Kaspersky and ESET researchers also contributed significantly. Some of our work was clearly done in parallel and there was a lot of information sharing, so it’s not always realistically possible to say Brand X did Y and Brand Z did P. I certainly wouldn’t want to estimate percentages. :) I can’t really comment on how the authors approached their stories: I haven’t talked to either of them. As a general rule, it’s true and understandable that journalists tend to go first (and sometimes only) to the companies they know most about. I can’t say if that happened here.

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