Journalist to speak at URI about computer worm that infiltrated Iran’s nuclear program

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Kim Zetter’s presentation part of ‘Cybersecurity, Privacy’ colloquium


KINGSTON, R.I. – September 12, 2014 – An award winning journalist and author known for her investigative work on the computer worm that compromised Iran’s nuclear program will speak Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island.


The free, public lecture by Kim Zetter, to be held in Edwards Hall, 64 Upper College Road, on the Kingston campus, is part of URI’s 2014 Honors Colloquium, “Cybersecurity & Privacy.”


The presenting sponsor for the entire colloquium is Cox Business.


Zetter’s talk, titled, “Stuxnet and The World’s First Digital Weapon,” will address the discovery of the Stuxnet worm that helped slow Iran’s nuclear program.


Her new book, “Countdown to Zero Day,” provides extensive details on the first known instance of cyber warfare.


Zetter ’s writing has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines including, The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Detroit Free Press. She is also a senior staff reporter at Wired where she has covered a variety of subjects, but with a focus on cybercrime, privacy, and security.


Her presentation will examine how Stuxnet was designed and then planted in computers in Iran. She will also discuss the vulnerability of the United States and other countries to a copycat attack.


In 2010, a security firm discovered a worm that infected computers in Iran causing them to crash. Zetter’s book title comes from the worms’ ingenious zero-day capability to spread, but appear as if it was generic malware. It was later discovered that the goal of the worm was to undermine equipment in Iran’s nuclear program. It was the first landmark cyber-weapon discovered and was the first case of digital code being used for physical destruction. The worm was named Stuxnet.


Zero day is a term applied to a previously undiscovered computer virus or worm, which handcuffs programmers by giving them no time to respond.


For more information on Zetter’s presentation, visit Kim Zetter.


In addition to Cox Business the colloquium is sponsored by the URI Honors Program, URI Office of the President; URI Office of the Provost; The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment; The Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment; URI College of Human Science and Services; URI Talent Development; URI Multicultural Center; URI College of Arts & Sciences; URI Harrington School of Communications and Media; URI John Hazen White, Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service; URI College of Pharmacy; URI College of Engineering; URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences; URI College of Nursing; URI College of Business Administration; URI Division of Student Affairs; URI Department of Communications and Marketing; URI Department of Publications and Creative Services; URI ITS Instructional Technology and Media Services


This release was written by Rachel Smith, a Graduate Assistant for the Marketing & Communications Department.