Tag: virus

New SARS-Like Virus Causes Respiratory Disease in the Middle East

By Sophie Bushwick | September 25, 2012 12:35 pm

coronaviruses
Coronaviruses derive their name from the corona visible in
images such as this 1975 transmission electron micrograph
of infectious bronchitis viruses

When a 49-year-old Qatari man fell ill in England this month, doctors realized that his respiratory problems and kidney failure were due to a previously unknown virus. Earlier this year, a nearly identical virus, 99.5 percent genetically identical to be exact, killed a middle-aged Saudi man. While a new disease is always cause for caution, there have been only two confirmed cases thus far. So what’s the worry? The problem is that this new virus belongs to a family called coronaviruses, a family that includes the common cold…and the deadly and fast-spreading Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine

Super-Sophisticated Computer Virus Apparently Targeted Iran's Power Plants

By Jennifer Welsh | September 27, 2010 6:58 pm

hackerA virus has been popping up in industrial plants and personal computers worldwide, and is now posing a looming threat over Iran, where more than 60 percent of the computers infected with the virus are located.

Some experts believe that virus, first discovered in June, was developed by high-level government programmers (possibly from the US, Israel, or Germany), and is directed toward a specific target, most likely Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. It is believed to have been around for over a year.

The virus was written to exploit five security vulnerabilities (four of which were previously unknown, and only two of which have been patched) in a piece of software used in many different industrial systems. The virus is inserted into the system using a thumbdrive, then spreads from computer to computer.

The malware was so skillfully designed that computer security specialists who have examined it were almost certain it had been created by a government and is a prime example of clandestine digital warfare. While there have been suspicions of other government uses of computer worms and viruses, Stuxnet is the first to go after industrial systems. [The New York Times]

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology
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