How Malware Almost Took Over NASDAQ

No one likes malware. For the normal Internet browser, malware can come in many different forms and affect many different areas of personal computing. Basically, malware is any malicious software where its whole purpose is to disrupt, destroy, steal or corrupt any computer operation. That's a pretty broad definition, but most people have heard about viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, adware, etc. Infected by Malware. Infected by Malware.[/caption]

Some malware is basic and created simply to annoy. Others have far reaching possibilities. Like manipulating stock exchanges and nuclear weapons capabilities.

"Widely believed to be a joint project of the U.S. and Israel, Stuxnet [worm] temporarily disabled Iran's uranium-processing facility at Natanz in 2010. It switched off safety mechanisms, causing the centrifuges at the heart of a refinery to spin out of control," reported Bloomberg Businessweek.

Although that action seemed to be for the betterment of mankind, what happens when it goes the other way? In October of 2010, the FBI noticed an abnormality within the NASDAQ Stock Market, an American stock exchange.

"It looked like malware had snuck into the company's central servers. There were indications that the intruder was not a kid somewhere, but the intelligence agency of another country. More troubling still: When the U.S. experts got a better look at the malware, they realized it was attack code, designed to cause damage," reported Michael Riley.

Over the next five months, joint law enforcement efforts came together and disrupted the malware hack. However, the actual details are still not known. The case has never fully been reported and no one has been authorized to speak on the record from the U.S. Government.

"Like all cyber cases, it's complex and involves evidence and facts that evolve over time," said FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos.

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