The infamous Stuxnet malware thought to have been developed by the US and Israel to disrupt Iran’s nuclear facilities, also managed to cause chaos at a Russian nuclear plant, according to Eugene Kaspersky.
The Kaspersky Lab founder claimed that a “friend” of his, working at the unnamed power plant, sent him a message that its internal network, which was disconnected from the internet, had been “badly infected by Stuxnet”.
Kaspersky didn’t reveal when exactly this happened, saying only that it was during the “Stuxnet time”.
The revelation came during a Q&A session after a speech at Australia's National Press Club last week, in which he argued that those spooks responsible for “offensive technologies” don’t realise the unintended consequences of releasing malware into the wild.
“Everything you do is a boomerang,” he added. “It will get back to you.”
The allegation is mentioned just after the 27 minute mark in this video. Kaspersky indicates that Russian nuclear plants are not connected to the internet and appears to suggest they have an air gap between their networks and any outside source of data.
Although Stuxnet is widely understood to have infected various enterprises in the US and elsewhere, this is the first time a major nuclear facility outside Iran has been mentioned.
If true, it highlights the danger of launching such attacks – even those as highly targeted as Stuxnet appears to have been.
“Unfortunately, it’s very possible that other nations which are not in a conflict will be victims of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure,” said Kaspersky.
“It’s cyber space. [There are] no borders, [and many facilities share the] same systems.”
Not finished there, Kaspersky also claimed to have heard from “Russian space guys” in the know that even machines on the International Space Station had been infected “from time to time” after scientists arrived aboard with infected USBs. ®