Computer Science alum Ward to give talk on Stuxnet Worm

4/12/2011 - By: John Trent

Jonathan Ward, a 2002 computer science and engineering graduate and now a software design engineer for Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., will give a talk on the Stuxnet Worm on Friday, April 15. Ward’s presentation is one of the highlights of the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering’s celebration of its graduates.

Ward’s talk, “Analysis of the Stuxnet Worm Attack Vectors,” will begin at noon in the Davidson Mathematics and Science Building, Room 103.

The Stuxnet Worm is a Windows-based computer worm first described by security researchers in Belarus in 2010. Stuxnet was considered unusual because it apparently targeted industrial systems that use Siemens’ software. The Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs called Stuxnet “a prototype of a cyber weapon that will lead to the creation of a new arms race in the world.” The New York Times, in January, conjectured that Israel had used Stuxnet in a successful effort to slow Iran’s burgeoning nuclear capabilities.

In Ward’s abstract of his talk, it is noted that, “The Stuxnet is both interesting and terrifying. The authors of the worm took great care to ensure only specifically targeted industrial operations were affected. Had this not been the case, the results could have been devastating to the worldwide infrastructure.” During his talk, Ward will give an overview of any Microsoft Windows concepts critical to understanding the attack vectors as well as the Windows OS fixes against each attack vector.

Ward’s first professional position was at International Game Technology (IGT) where he developed slot machine software for Windows XP Embedded and Windows CE. His experience at IGT involved 2D and 3D graphics, cryptography, PCI BIOS extension development and authoring multiple versions of Windows XP Embedded. He participated in the engineering of five gaming platforms during his six years at IGT.

In 2008 Ward began working at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., as a software design engineer. He currently works in the Windows Serviceability group. He has created over 40 hotfix patches for various storage components in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Ward’s talk is part of the CSE/EBME/IEEE colloquium series and also highlights a two-day period where Computer Science and Engineering is celebrating the class of 2011. On Thursday, a “Celebrate the Future” event will honor Computer Science and Engineering graduates, as well as Ward, the department’s Alumni Guest of Honor.

For more information, call the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at 784-6974 or email cse@unr.edu


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