Anatomy of a Computer Virus: A 3.5 Minute Primer

Last week, Cit­i­group admit­ted that hack­ers exposed the pri­vate finan­cial data of more than 360,000 cus­tomer accounts. Mean­while, in an unre­lat­ed attack, Lulz Secu­ri­ty man­aged to bring down the CIA web­site, and this week they’ve declared war on gov­ern­ment agen­cies around the world.

Now might be a good time to beef up on your knowl­edge of mal­ware, cyber­crime, and cyber­war­fare, start­ing with Stuxnet, a com­put­er virus that was launched against Iran­ian nuclear infra­struc­tures in 2010 (most like­ly by the U.S.). For a quick primer on Stuxnet, check out Anato­my of a Com­put­er Virus. It’s only three and a half min­utes long, but you’ll learn enough to decide whether or not to set your lap­top on fire, sell every­thing you own, and run scream­ing for the Yukon.

For a more detailed explo­ration of the virus, watch Crack­ing Stuxnet, A 21st-Cen­tu­ry Cyber Weapon, a TED talk by cyber-secu­ri­ty expert Ralph Langn­er. Dis­claimer: It won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly put you at ease — the pre­sen­ter clos­es by thank­ing Mr. Langn­er for “scar­ing the liv­ing day­lights out of us.”

Via PopTech and Hun­gry Beast

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly.

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