Can a Worm Take Down a Nuclear Power Plant?

December 15, 2010

There were recent media reports that a computer worm called the Stuxnet Worm had been released by our government to launch a cyber attack against a nuclear power plant in Iran. The worm, which was transported by using thumb drives and computers that weren’t connected to the internet, targeted the software the operated the plant. After further research, the worm actually spread to many countries and raised concerns about our own national security.

If the Stuxnet Worm or a similar worm were to attack a private business that provides critical infrastructure to the government, it could greatly hamper their ability to provide national security. The emergence of the Stuxnet Worm raises many questions about this new type of warfare. Should an international treaty be drafted? What is the best way for the government to work with the private sector to help protect our critical infrastructure?

You can read the entire report on the CRS website.