Windows systems at risk from Stuxnet attack

Summary:Microsoft is looking into a family of malware that is using a Windows flaw to infiltrate critical infrastructure and other systems in a number of countries.

Microsoft is looking into a particularly nasty family of malware, which has been labeled 'Stuxnet' by security researchers, and has been seen in the wild in India, Iran, the US and Indonesia, Microsoft said in a blog post on Friday. One of the attack vectors Stuxnet uses is via USB stick. The malware requires no user interaction to infect the system. The operating system merely rendering an icon launches the malware.

"What is unique about Stuxnet is that it utilizes a new method of propagation," wrote Microsoft researcher Tareq Saade in the blog post. "Specifically, it takes advantage of specially-crafted shortcut files (also known as .lnk files) placed on USB drives to automatically execute malware as soon as the .lnk file is read by the operating system."

The malware, described by security company F-Secure as an "advanced, persistent threat", has infected Siemens WinCC Scada machines. In addition, Russian security company Kaspersky said in a blog post on Saturday that this was the first time its researchers had seen a piece of malware that relies on shortcut files to launch and hide itself.

For more on this story, read Windows systems at risk from Stuxnet shortcut malware on ZDNet UK.

Topics: Windows, Malware, Security

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Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com, writing about all manner of security and open-source issues.Tom had various jobs after leaving university, including working for a company that hired out computers as props for films and television, and a role turning the entire back catalogue of a publisher into e-books.Tom eventually found tha... Full Bio

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