Delegates at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas are sharply split on the merits (or otherwise) of malware like Stuxnet that can be used offensively to take down infrastructure.
Stuxnet was the first malware that was publicly acknowledged to have been designed to take down physical equipment – in this case, Siemens supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. According to recent reports
it was developed by the US and Israel as part of Operation Olympic Games, a malware program started by former President Bush and expanded by the current administration.
"I think what you're talking about is a moral crime," said Marcus Ranum, faculty member of the Institute for Applied Network Security. "What you're really doing is putting civilian infrastructure on the front line in this non-existent war. The military is basically saying 'we've saved you a little old fashioned bombing - you should be happy,' but that's not appropriate."