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Foreign Hackers Cyber Attacked US Water Plant in Illinois Causing a Pump to Fail–Involved 2 Break Ins With 1st at Software

Posted Nov 18 2011 9:05pm

This is somewhat of a first and as of now there’s no public danger with the condition of the water so that’s a relief.  The hackers broke into the software image company first that provides the software for the water plant.  Upon securing names and passwords, they used the information to break into the water utility, so again we have two break ins here.

The FBI and Homeland Security Departments are all over the investigation and this was only a pump that was manipulated with software algorithms and with being turned off and on it eventually was burned out and quit working.  Is security a big deal?  You bet it is and with infrastructure hackings it is yet one more reminder to slow down and get the security done right.  This is also a big warning too for the software company to take note as well.  Who knows if there are other utilities in the US or anywhere for that matter also using their software and how many other names and passwords were taken.  Time for all to change their passwords immediately I would say, no matter where you are if the utility company is using that software.  BD 

Foreign hackers caused a pump at an Illinois water plant to fail last week, according to a preliminary state report. Experts said the cyber-attack, if confirmed, would be the first known to have damaged one of the systems that supply Americans with water, electricity and other essentials of modern life.

Federal officials confirmed that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were investigating damage to the water plant but cautioned against concluding that it was necessarily a cyber-attack before all the facts could be learned. “At this time there is no credible corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety,” said DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard.

The report, which Weiss read to The Washington Post, describes how a series of minor glitches with a water pump gradually escalated to the point where the pump motor was being turned on and off frequently. It soon burned out, according to the report.

The Illinois report said that hackers broke into a software company’s database and retrieved user names and passwords of control systems that run water plant computer equipment. Using that data, they were able to hack into the plant in Illinois, Weiss said.


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