Cyber Attack Traced Russia
November 20, 2011 by staff
Cyber Attack Traced Russia, A water treatment plant near Springfield, Illinois could be the target of the first malicious cyberattack against critical U.S. infrastructure. The attack was reportedly traced back to a computer in Russia.
There’s already been several foreign-based cyberattacks on U.S. businesses. What makes this alleged cyberattack different is that the hackers caused physical damage to U.S. infrastructure.
“There may have been a breach. There may have been a hack into the system,” said Don Craven, an attorney for the Curran-Gardner Public Water District in Illinois.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are investigating if hackers were able to burn out a water pump at that facility on November 8th.
“There was some indication that there was a breach of some sort into a software program – the SCATA system – that allows remote access to the wells and the pumps and those sorts of things,” said Craven.
The man that blew the lid on the whole thing is Joe Weiss, a prominent cyber security expert. He says he learned about the breach in a report from the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center.
“The thing that gets me is somebody could be using this as a test run,” said Weiss. “Why else would they have gone after these really small, rural facilities?”
The Department of Homeland Security confirms the pump was damaged. But a DHS spokesman says, “”At this time there is no credible corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety.”
Weiss isn’t buying it.
“That’s completely and totally inconsistent with what’s in the report,” said Weiss.
Weiss believes federal officials are downplaying the alleged hack and he says he doesn’t understand why, especially since the implications could stretch nationwide.
“The systems that were used in Illinois are the exact same systems that are used in D.C.” said Weiss. “The cyberattack in Illinois started two to three months ago. So how many other systems could be compromised that we just don’t know about yet?”
A spokeswoman for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) declined to comment. But the General Manager of Washington Aqueduct, Thomas Jacobus, says his facility would be immune to that kind of cyberattack.
“We made a decision about ten-years ago, when we set up our control systems, that we would not seek remotely accessed control of these plants,” said Jacobus.
The Washington Aqueduct supplies water to Arlington, Falls Church, and the District.
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