Hackers hit water treatment plant

By on
Hackers hit water treatment plant

Targeted SCADA through 'astonishing' weak point.

Hackers accessed the network of a water treatment facility in the United States, destroying a water pump, according to reports.

The attack against the water utility in Springfield, Illinois may have started as early as September, but wasn't noticed until the beginning of November.

The hackers targeted its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) - the same system under attack by Stuxnet, although there's nothing to suggest that malware is at fault.

“It is unknown, at this time, the number of SCADA usernames and passwords acquired from the [water treatment] software company’s database and if any additional SCADA systems have been attacked as a result of this theft,” Illinois state security authorities said in a report, according to Wired.

The hackers apparently accessed the system via a flaw in phpMyAdmin, which Sophos security researcher Chester Wisniewski criticised as an astonishing weak point.

"Reading about this my spidey-sense was tingling," he said in a post on the Sophos blog.

"They have SCADA control systems hooked up to the public internet? And they are running phpMyAdmin?"

Wisniewski said he stopped using phpMyAdmin to run his own personal site after the "never-ending stream of sever vulnerabilities" became too much trouble.

"Convenience and price are always desirable to those responsible for managing these systems, but this is bordering on criminally negligent when you are responsible for our water, power, gas and other sensitive utilities," he said.

The US Department for Homeland Security has warned about holes in SCADA software, while a report last year warned to expect more attacks against utilities and other infrastructure.

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing
Tags:

Most Read Articles

You must be a registered member of iTnews to post a comment.
| Register

Poll

New Windows 10 users, are you upgrading from...
Windows 8
Windows 7
Windows XP
Another operating system
Windows Vista
How should the costs of Australia's piracy scheme be split?
Rights holders should foot the whole bill
50/50
ISPs should foot the whole bill
Government should chip in a bit
Other
View poll archive

Whitepapers from our sponsors

What will the stadium of the future look like?
What will the stadium of the future look like?
New technology adoption is pushing enterprise networks to breaking point
New technology adoption is pushing enterprise networks to breaking point
Gartner names IBM a 'Leader' for Disaster Recovery as a Service
Gartner names IBM a 'Leader' for Disaster Recovery as a Service
The next era of business continuity: Are you ready for an always-on world?
The next era of business continuity: Are you ready for an always-on world?

Log In

Username:
Password:
|  Forgot your password?