Computer cables snakeacross the floor. Cryptic
flowcharts are scrawled across various whiteboards adorning the walls. A
life-size Batman doll stands in the hall. This office might seem no
different than any other geeky workplace, but in fact it’s the front
line of a war—a cyberwar, where most battles play out not in remote
jungles or deserts but in suburban office parks like this one. As a
senior researcher for Kaspersky Lab, a leading computer security firm
based in Moscow, Roel Schouwenberg spends his days (and many nights)
here at the lab’s U.S. headquarters in Woburn, Mass., battling the most
insidious digital weapons ever, capable of crippling water supplies,
power plants, banks, and the very infrastructure that once seemed
invulnerable to attack.
Recognition of such threats exploded in June 2010 with the discovery of
Stuxnet, a 500-kilobyte computer worm that infected the software of at
least 14 industrial sites in Iran, including a uranium-enrichment plant.
Although a computer virus relies on an unwitting victim to install it, a
worm spreads on its own, often over a computer network.