Aurora brought about "the first general acceptance of the fact that nation-states were actively developing cyberweapons and fighting against each other," Raiu said. "And the targets weren't necessarily other nation-states, but rather companies from the states."
Even when companies are not the targets, they can still suffer collateral damage, Raiu warned.
For instance, U.S. oil company Chevron reported that its systems were hampered by the Stuxnet virus. It's widely believed in the security community that U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies created Stuxnet to spy on and disrupt Iran's nuclear operations, though official sources have never confirmed the allegations.
Duqu, widely considered the successor to Stuxnet, has also been inflicting damage on bystanders. This malware is currently spreading across PCs at an alarming rate. In a single day last month, Kaspersky saw a jump of 23 percent in the number of new copies of Duqu that infected PCs Kaspersky monitored, from 31,159 to 38,375.