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Stuxnet Authors Made Several Basic Errors

By Threat Post

January 19, 2011



There is a growing sentiment among security researchers that the programmers behind the Stuxnet attack may not have been the super-elite cadre of developers that they've been mythologized to be in the media. In fact, some experts say that Stuxnet could well have been far more effective and difficult to detect had the attackers not made a few elementary mistakes.

In a talk at the Black Hat DC conference here Tuesday, Tom Parker, a security consultant, presented a compelling case that Stuxnet may be the product of a collaboration between two disparate groups, perhaps a talented group of programmers that produced most of the code and exploits and a less sophisticated group that may have adapted the tool for its eventual use. Parker analyzed the code in Stuxnet and looked at both the quality of the code itself as well as how well it did what it was designed to do, and found several indications that the code itself is not very well done, but was still highly effective on some levels.

Parker wrote a tool that analyzed similarities between the Stuxnet code and the code of some other well-known worms and applications and found that the code was fairly low quality. However, he also said that there was very little chance that one person could have put the entire attack together alone.

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