The Stuxnet computer worm, which has targeted infrastructure companies in Iran, India and the U.S., has already been known to steal important data -- but researchers say it also leaves open a back door that could be used to hijack computers and secretly control the operation of power plants and refineries. "This is quite a serious development in the threat landscape," said Symantec manager Liam O'Murchu. "It's essentially giving an attacker control of the physical system in an industrial control environment."

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