Friday, November 18, 2011

Hacker inflicted damage on public water system

This is one of the most alarming reports I've read recently:

The Christian Science Monitor reports:
A state report claims that a foreign cyberattack disabled a water pump at an Illinois water utility, say experts who have seen the report. After discovery of the Stuxnet cyberweapon a year ago, many experts predicted that cyberattacks on US infrastructure were imminent.
It seems hackers now have the ability to reach inside utilities and inflict damage. One must assume the tactics can be refined to increase the level of damage, or to strike multiple systems if that was the desire.

Also, there are reports two U.S. satellites were hacked by a foreign entity in 2007 and 2008.

Cyber attacks don't come with the same kind of warning a traditional attack would trigger.

Someone's apparently out to get us. Or just out to show us how smart they are. I doubt it's the latter. And it may be a bunch of someones, not just one. The big question is, have they thrown their best attempt at us? More likely, efforts thus far simply to probe for weakness.

Here's the point to take home: We're probably more vulnerable than most people think. Advances in cyber technology have made systems more efficient. But in exchange for that efficiency, we've introduced vulnerability in areas that would have been impossible to breach even ten years ago. Internal tampering at a municipal water service from some remote (possibly foreign) control point is just one example.

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