Siemens Halts Computer Virus as Threat Spurs Effort Against Attacks

Siemens AG said a computer virus designed to attack the industrial control systems it makes to help monitor power grids and other key infrastructure has been largely suppressed, but the threat has stepped up government and private-sector efforts to ward off future attacks.

The virus, first detected in June, marked the first large-scale attack on the type of industrial computer systems that are used to monitor controls for large automated factories, utilities, nuclear power plants and water treatment systems, security analysts said.

Dubbed Stuxnet and spread by devices plugged into USB computer ports, the virus targets industrial process control systems made by Siemens and is programmed to try to steal data from them.

The German engineering giant is one of the world’s largest makers of such automated systems—one reason the company and security researchers believe its systems were the target. Last year, Munich-based Siemens (SI) generated €7 billion ($9 billion) in sales from its industrial-controls business.

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