I have an article in the November edition of Pragati that covers the Stuxnet malware and its relevance to India. If you don’t feel like registering over at the Pragati website, you are welcome to post your comments here.
Imagine a deadly computer virus makes its way around a well-guarded, critical industrial complex—say a nuclear plant—sabotaging its operations by sending bad commands to the centrifuge controller. “Storyline of a B-grade Hollywood movie,” you might say. The Stuxnet worm, a piece of malicious software or malware, whose origins are yet unknown, is designed to do such things.
Jeffrey Carr, a noted authority on cyber security, suggested in a blog post published by Forbes that the glitch experienced by India’s INSAT-4B communication satellite on July 7th could be the handiwork of the Stuxnet worm. The glitch, attributed to a power supply anomaly in one of its two solar panels led to the shutdown of 12 of the 24 transponders on the satellite. Carr bases his hypothesis, partially at least, on the fact that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is a Siemens customer and that two former engineers’ resumes seem to suggest that Siemens PLC and WinCC software were used by ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.