European Businesses Attacked by Son of ‘Stuxnet’ Virus

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The idea of European comebacks is one long familiar to most people; we joke about David Hasselhoff being massive in Germany, or the ongoing French love affair with Jerry Lewis, long after America has finished with both men. Well, now there’s a new name we can add to that list: The Stuxnet virus.

In case you don’t remember Stuxnet, it was a virus believed to be created by the U.S. and Israel that attacked an estimated 60% of Iranian systems, including the Bushehr nuclear plant, in late 2010. Now, a new virus called Duqu that’s attacking European businesses has been identified as being “consistent with the Stuxnet code,” according to online security firm Symantec.

(MORE: TechFast: Hacker’s Revenge For Stuxnet, Gorgeous Google Rumors)

The new virus was identified last week, although Symantec will not disclose which European companies have been targeted. It will, however, admit that it believes that the virus has been specifically targeting a number of companies and may be just the first in a number of viruses based upon Stuxnet coding that we’ll see in coming months.

A spokesman for Symantec said that “The majority of the code is consistent with the Stuxnet code, so this new worm either came from the authors of Stuxnet, or someone was given access to the Stuxnet source codes… The significance here is that since Stuxnet we have not seen anything else of that level of complexity. It has gone a little quiet since then. The question we are now asking is: ‘Do they have a new goal or purpose?’”

MORE: Japan Criminalizes Cybercrime: Make a Virus, Get Three Years in Jail

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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