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Feds Investigating Water Utility Pump Failure As Possible Cyberattack 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the water-the-chances dept.
SpuriousLogic writes with this quote from CNN: "Federal officials confirmed they are investigating whether a cyber attack may have been responsible for the failure of a water pump at a public water district in Illinois last week. But they cautioned that no conclusions had been reached, and they disputed one cyber security expert's statements that other utilities are vulnerable to a similar attack. Joe Weiss, a noted cyber security expert, disclosed the possible cyber attack on his blog Thursday. Weiss said he had obtained a state government report, dated Nov. 10 and titled 'Public Water District Cyber Intrusion,' which gave details of the alleged cyber attack culminating in the 'burn out of a water pump.' According to Weiss, the report says water district workers noted 'glitches' in the systems for about two months. On Nov. 8, a water district employee noticed problems with the industrial control systems, and a computer repair company checked logs and determined that the computer had been hacked. Weiss said the report says the cyber attacker hacked into the water utility using passwords stolen from a control system vendor and that he had stolen other user names and passwords."
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Feds Investigating Water Utility Pump Failure As Possible Cyberattack

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  • by stating_the_obvious (1340413) on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:48PM (#38102122)
    Perhaps it's time to start we stop believing that everything in the world needs to be connected to external networks.

    In the battle of the sword and the shield, the sword eventually wins, but it takes a hell of a lot longer when the sword and shield are separated by the moat and a thick stone wall...
  • No Reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Friday November 18, 2011 @04:14PM (#38102454)

    I can think of no reason facilities such as this should be accessible via a public network. You should have to be physically present to access these control systems.

  • by fsckmnky (2505008) on Friday November 18, 2011 @04:15PM (#38102464)
    Connecting your water pumps to the public internet.

    Der der der.
  • by kackle (910159) on Friday November 18, 2011 @05:42PM (#38103522)
    I've been in the water SCADA industry for 10 years. What I'm seeing lately are water operators, IT people, and system integrators who are overzealous when it comes to connectivity and all the "neat" things that can be done remotely via technology. It's the standard human foible when it comes to technology, writ dangerous: they consider what can be done versus whether it should be. The water industry isn't that exciting, so when flashy tech. comes along, and the taxpayer is footing the bill, I can see where they say "Yes!" And who is the salesperson to refuse this order?

    I'm all for automation, and crying out when a system is in trouble. But I haven't yet seen where humanized remote control is critical. Hackers aside, it's probably better if it's not.

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