Author(s): Kim Zetter
In January 2010, inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency began to notice that Iran's nuclear centrifuges were failing at an alarming rate. What was causing them to do so was a total mystery-apparently as much to the Iranian technicians as to the UN inspectors observing them. Then, in June 2010, a seemingly unrelated event occurred. A computer-security firm in Belarus was called in to investigate a computer in Iran that was caught in a reboot loop. At first, analysts assumed it was infected with a simple, routine piece of malware, but as they delved into its code they discovered a virus of unparalelled complexity and mysterious intent. Before long, experts around the world were beginning to understand that they had stumbled upon the world's first digital weapon. Stuxnet, as it came to be known, was a digital missile unlike any other virus or worm that had ever been built. Rather than simply stealing information from or damaging the computers it infected, it managed to physically destroy the devices the computers controlled-and was therefore a weapon that could wreak untold havoc on any country's infrastructure. It was an ingenious plot that proceeded exactl
KIM ZETTER is a senior reporter at Wired and writes primarily for its ""Threat Level"" blog, covering cybercrime, civil liberties, privacy, and security. Her investigative journalism on subjects such as WikiLeaks has drawn national attention, and her past work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Jerusalem Post, San Jose Mercury News, Detroit Free Press, Salon, and Conde Nast Portfolio.