Posted by: maboulette | November 18, 2011


U.S. Department of Homeland Security Official ...

Reuters is reporting that investigators from the Federal government are examining a reported hacking of the remote shut down of a utility’s water pump somewhere in Illinois in what could be the very first foreign cyber attack of an industrial system on American soil.

This incident occurred on November 8th and a one-page report from the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center was issued, according to Joe Weiss who is a noted expert on cyber attacks involving state and local infrastructures.

These state investigators believe hackers broke into the network of the water utility using stolen credentials from an undisclosed U.S. software company.  The company reportedly produces the software that controls industrial systems, said Weiss, managing partner of Applied Control Solutions in Cupertino, California.

“An information technology services and computer repair company checked the computer logs of the system and determined the computer had been hacked into from a computer located in Russia,” Weiss said, quoting the report.

Illinois State police spokesperson declined comment.  The FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security are investigating the matter according to DHS spokesperson Peter Boogaard.

“At this time there is no credible corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety,” he said, and then declined to further elaborate.

Some reports from other media identified the site of the attack as Springfield, Illinois but city officials stated this is not accurate and would not say where the pump was located.

Workers at the utility that was targeted on November 8 observed problems with the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA), that handles the management of the water supply system, and found that a water pump had been damaged, alleged Weiss, “It is unknown at this time the number of SCADA user names and passwords acquired from the software company’s database and if any other additional SCADA systems have been attacked as a result of this theft,” Weiss quoted the report as saying. 


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