Posted: August 3, 2010

Malware.Stuxnet Description

Stuxnet is a worm that was seemingly designed by Western government agencies to infect and attack the software of Iran's uranium-enrichment program. As is true of other worms, Stuxnet does try to spread itself to other computers on a large-scale basis, by creating copies of itself and installing itself without your consent. However, unlike most worms, Stuxnet limits its proliferation in most cases, and will also fail to make functional attacks against computers that aren't running the relevant types of Siemens-brand industrial software. Although Stuxnet doesn't present an extreme threat to the PC of an average computer enthusiast, you should still do your best to remove Stuxnet from your computer with suitable anti-malware programs, if you find that your operating system has been infected. Alternately, you could choose to wait out the infection, since Stuxnet is, amusingly, programmed to delete itself in June of 2012.

Stuxnet's Method of Delivery (How Stuxnet Infects PLCs)

Why Stuxnet isn't a Problem for the Average PC

Stuxnet is distributed primarily throughout Iran, although Indonesia and India have also been statistically-significant targets of Stuxnet attacks. Under two percent of all Stuxnet attacks have targeted computers based in the United States. This is in large part due to Stuxnet's restrictions on propagation – any given Stuxnet-infected PC can only infect up to three other computers with the Stuxnet worm. In addition, malware experts are glad to note that Stuxnet is completely inert, if not necessarily non-reproducing on Windows computers that lack the prerequisite Siemens-brand industrial software.

Stuxnet can use standard worm methods of spreading itself, including infecting removable drives or P2P networks. In addition to being a worm, Stuxnet can also be considered a rootkit, since Stuxnet installs malicious kernel-mode drivers to gain total access to the computer's system. malware researchers also note the inclusion of faked digital signatures that make it appear as though Stuxnet's drivers are trustworthy.

However, at the time of this writing, Stuxnet's signatures have been revoked, and its command servers have been taken down, leaving Stuxnet without any way to update itself or receive instructions. This continues to limit Stuxnet's already-limited attacks to the point where you shouldn't have to worry about Stuxnet – unless you're using Siemens industrial programs, of course.

Recent information uncovered from examining Stuxnet is evedent of the increasing rates of cyber-gangs. Using Stuxnet for malicious purposes yields a potential weapon of mass distruction where Stuxnet can help wage a cyber war against a targeted entity. With nations addressing their concern for cybersecurity within their own infrastructure, Stuxnet worm is clearly on everyone's radar.

Stuxnet's Unusually-Selective Saboteur Efforts

Besides targeting particular brands of software, Stuxnet also utilizes programmable logic controller (or PLC) attacks and monitors motor frequencies to find appropriate victims. The extremely-specific conditions that Stuxnet requires before Stuxnet launches its attacks, means that only computers that are used for industrial work (such as control systems for gas centrifuges and pumps) are severely-threatened by a Stuxnet infection.

Although its full symptoms and possible attack scope aren't yet known to malware research team, they have confirmed that Stuxnet alters the rotational speed of the relevant motors and then takes steps to conceal this activity from casual detection. Although a Stuxnet worm can be removed without harm to the infected PC, you should never try to delete Stuxnet without help from advanced anti-malware tools, given the sophisticated nature of Stuxnet as both a worm and a rootkit.

To protect your PC from Stuxnet infections, it's recommended that you avoid suspicious files on P2P sites or usage of USB devices that haven't been confirmed to be safe. After removing Stuxnet, changing relevant security passwords is also advisable.


TrojanDropper:Win32/Stuxnet.A (Microsoft)
Trojan.Win32.Stuxnet (Ikarus)

File System Modifications

  • The following files were created in the system:
    # File Name
    1 %System%\drivers\mrxcls.sys
    2 %Windir%\inf\mdmcpq3.PNF
    3 %Windir%\inf\mdmeric3.PNF
    4 %Windir%\inf\oem6C.PNF
    5 %Windir%\inf\oem7A.PNF

Registry Modifications

  • The following newly produced Registry Values are:

Use SpyHunter to Detect and Remove PC Threats

If you are concerned that malware or PC threats similar to Malware.Stuxnet may have infected your computer, we recommend you start an in-depth system scan with SpyHunter. SpyHunter is an advanced malware protection and remediation application that offers subscribers a comprehensive method for protecting PCs from malware, in addition to providing one-on-one technical support service.

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