This article will discuss one of the best known attacks historically. This is known as Stuxnet, and it was a cyberattack that occurred in 2010 and that focused on attacking Iranian uranium enrichment machinery.
This was the first time that a cyberattack escaped from the computer world and affected the physical world.
The origin of Stuxnet has not been 100% revealed, but some sources believe that the US and Israel collaborated in a covert campaign called Olympic Games, with the aim of sabotaging Iran’s nuclear facilities with the Stuxnet virus, which is defined as the first cyber weapon.
The Stuxnet virus is victimized by PLCs or Programmable Logic Controllers, which allow the automation of electromechanical processes such as the control of uranium enrichment. What this virus did was slightly modified the behavior of the machinery to cause constant bankruptcies and, ultimately, sabotage the enrichment process. Stuxnet infected a total of 200,000 computers and damaged 1,000 machines.
But how did an supposedly American virus reach the Iranian uranium factories? Well, the virus was transmitted through an infected USB, which infected and spread on computers specialized in controlling PLCs. When the virus detected a victim, it modified the behavior of the machinery and remained invisible by sending false monitoring information.
Many Stuxnet-based viruses have emerged since then, all with the same goal, to attack industrial machinery.
This fact makes us see as an organization that, despite not being in the digital world, can be affected by cyberattacks. It also shows us that we must be careful with what we download or connect to our devices, since a simple USB caused the virus to spread and caused incalculable damage.