Ralph Langner heads Langner, an independent cyber-security firm that specializes in control systems -- electronic devices that monitor and regulate other devices, such as manufacturing equipment. These devices' deep connection to the infrastructure that runs our cities and countries has made them, increasingly, the targets of an emerging, highly sophisticated type of cyber-warfare. And since 2010, when the Stuxnet computer worm first reared its head, Langner has stood squarely in the middle of the battlefield.
As part of a global effort to decode the mysterious program, Langner and his team analyzed Stuxnet's data structures, and revealed what he believes to be its ultimate intent: the control system software known to run centrifuges in nuclear facilities -- specifically, facilities in Iran. Further analysis by Langner uncovered what seem to be Stuxnet's shocking origins, which he revealed in his TED2011 talk. (PS: He was right.)