The Stuxnet worm has turned the world of computer security on its head, according to a group of leading digital doom-mongers.
The malicious code, which first reared its head in June and attacks the kind of industrial machinery commonly used in nuclear power plants, is so sophisticated according to one of America's shady Homelands Security directors, that he has warned the US Senate that it needs to rethink the way industry uses the Internet.
"We have not seen this coordinated effort of information technology vulnerabilities and industrial control exploitation completely wrapped up in one unique package," Sean McGurk told senators according to PC World.
Michael Assante, president and CEO of the National Board of Information Security Examiners also said, "Stuxnet is, at the very least, an important wake-up call for digitally enhanced and reliant countries, and at its worst, a blueprint for future attackers."
Experts have suggested that Stuxnet is so well crafted and sophisticated that it could only have been created by a nation state or corporation with the kind of resources your average hacker could only dream of.
The problem with malicious code is that, while it may take an army of experts and a truckload of cash to create in the first place, once it is out in the wild, converting it another nefarious purpose is a much simpler proposition.
Some 44,000 computers are still thought to be infected with the Stuxnet worm, around 60 per cent of them in Iran which is widely suspected to have been the original target.
Carrying out attacks on on the USA's industrial control systems could bring the country grinding to a halt and Government facilities and private businesses alike are being warned to beef up their security... mainly by very rich people who sell security-beefing-up solutions.