The right environment is Iran's nuclear enrichment facility. Nuclear centrifuges are being cleaned by the high frequency power converters, which Stuxnet now has the capability to control.
"But even then it does nothing," Hypponen continues. "It records the normal everyday traffic for two or three days."
And then like a heist movie where a criminal fiddles with a security camera so a guard sees a film from yesterday rather than what's happening in the present, Stuxnet floods back the traffic it recorded to the factory's monitoring system. Anyone monitoring will see normal operation, but operation from the past.
"Then it starts changing the spinning speed, which ends up breaking the centrifuges or ends up creating lousy uranium."
The intelligence and technological sophistication of Stuxnet has led experts to believe it was the creation of a multi-million pound operation with state involvement. There are also claims it was the creation of a joint effort between Israel and the US, which Hypponen believes.
But the expert also thinks that it could be a major wake-up call to interested parties, which could be a problem for developed western nations in the future.
Hypponen said, "There are lots of other countries which realise that you can do this, and gain access to systems which are running critical infrastructure. We will see copycats, maybe modified versions of Stuxnet, copies of which aren't hard to find at all."
Which led us to Hypponen's first comment over worst case scenarios if jihadists ever find a way of attacking Western nations with modified Stuxnet technology, now available easily through a search of the web.
He said, "When people think about these extremists, they don't think about them having these types of technology skills. They typically think of unintelligent Talibans riding camels in the desert. That's a dangerous misconception."
The Finn proceeded to show The INQUIRER a copy of 'Inspire', a lifestyle publication written in English that is best described as a jihadist magazine aimed at new recruits.
Among the news articles, poems, songs, Osama Bin Laden speeches and right alongside a section on making bomb making equipment, there is a section on how to do public key encryption. It describes an open source PGP-like encryption system coded and developed by extremists.
"These guys write pretty good magazines in English and code their own tools. They could easily get Stuxnet itself - it's far from trivial to modify, but it's easier to modify than write something from scratch. But I think I'm more worried about the idea of getting copied by other parties."
Hypponen finished with one last thought. "When George W Bush signed a cyber attack agreement in 2008 against the Iran nuclear program, I do believe the outcome of that signature was Stuxnet." µ
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