If you have not heard of Stuxnet by now then you are not alone. So what is Stuxnet you ask? Stuxnet has been explained as a computer virus and is most widely known for destroying several nuclear centrifuges in Iran. So how does this affect you? Unlike most other malicious computer software, Stuxnet was designed to specifically target programmable logic controllers (PLC’s). This could have potentially negative side effects for anybody who uses PLC’s in their facilities. How does it get spread? Stuxnet infects PLC’s and computers through unprotected USB ports. This makes it easy for anyone with access to a flash drive and a PLC with a USB port to come by upload the virus and walk off. However, most attacks may not be intentional. All it takes is an anyone to come by with a low battery on their phone and they plug their phone in to charge it. This then potentially makes the whole system connected to the internet. For this reason, it is especially important to have a lockout system for your PLC’s USB port, so USB devices can not just be plugged in at will, and accidental infections can be avoided. As for Stuxnet, you shouldn’t worry about it affecting your PLC’s because anti-virus software has become aware of it and the PLC’s that it affected have become patched so it can prevent Stuxnet.
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I know it is not possible for everyone to make it to automation fair every year, but technology has made it easier to get the Automation fair experience anywhere. Rockwell has enough videos to give you the full Automation Fair experience from the comfort of your home. Visit Rockwell Automation’s Youtube page to catch up on everything from the 2014 Automation Fair event.