Researchers at Kaspersky Lab are claiming to have found proof that the writers of the Stuxnet and Duqu malware are one and the same, and are warning of at least three new families of advanced malware potentially in circulation.
Security experts have been debating if the two code groups are by the same authors, but the evidence has been inconclusive. An analysis by NSS last month suggested that the two were linked, but this might be down to reverse engineering, rather than the original coding.
Alexander Gostev, chief security expert at Kaspersky Lab, said that researchers had examined drivers used in both Stuxnet and Duqu and concluded that a single team was most likely behind them both, based on the timing of their creation and their methods of interacting with the rest of the malware code.
“We consider that these drivers were used either in an earlier version of Duqu, or for infection with completely different malicious programs, which moreover have the same platform and, it is likely, a single creator-team,” he said in a statement.
The researcher's data suggests both were built on a common platform, dubbed Tilded because it uses many files beginning with the tilde symbol "~" and the letter "d." The platform was built around 2007 or later, and was updated in 2010 - possibly to evade countermeasures.
Kaspersky's director of global research & analysis, Costin Raiu, told Reuters that the platform and drivers involved would indicate five families of malware had been made using the platform already, and that others may be in development. The modularity of the systems makes it easy for the malware writers to adapt their creations to new purposes and techniques.
"It's like a Lego set. You can assemble the components into anything: a robot or a house or a tank," he said. ®