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Duqu: The Precursor to the Next Stuxnet

Duqu:  The Precursor to the Next Stuxnet
On October 14, the next chapter of Stuxnet began with Duqu, a new threat whose goal is to gather intelligence in order to conduct a future Stuxnet-like attack.

Duqu Threat

On October 14, Symantec started analysis on a new threat called Duqu, which seems to be the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack. Parts of Duqu are nearly identical to Stuxnet, but it has a completely different purpose. Duqu's purpose is to gather intelligence and assets like design documents that will give the attackers the insights they need to mount a future, highly-targeted attack on organizations such as industrial control facilities.
Learn More about Duqu from Symantec Security Response Experts

Take a Look Back at Symantec's Role in Unraveling Stuxnet

"Unraveling Stuxnet" Source: Symantec
Click the image to view the entire timeline.

The Significance of Stuxnet

What makes Stuxnet particularly earth shattering is that it was designed to take a never-before-seen leap from the digital world into the physical world. Stuxnet is a computer worm designed to target industrial control systems used to monitor and run large-scale industrial facilities.

Much of the malware in play today is designed to steal information and pilfer banking accounts, both of which have indirect impacts on our real-world lives. However, Stuxnet went well beyond that. Its purpose was to reprogram industrial control systems—computer programs used to manage industrial environments such as power plants, oil refineries, and gas pipelines. Its final goal was to manipulate the physical equipment attached to specific industrial control systems so the equipment acted in a manner programmed by the attacker, contrary to its intended purpose. Such an outcome could have several underlying goals, but sabotage, destruction, and cyber warfare were the most obvious.

Stuxnet opened the door to the malware having deep political and social ramifications. There is much to be learned from the complexity of the Stuxnet threat. Indeed, Stuxnet has changed the way researchers approach malware and view the security threat landscape.

Security Response Blog Entries

Read what Symantec security researchers have written on Stuxnet worm since it appeared in July 2010.

Technical Information

  • You'll find technical details on this Duqu threat on our security response page.
  • Learn more
  • Symantec customers are protected from this threat.