More Damage than Theft
A recent story in Reuters concerning cyber attacks should have IT administrators quite concerned. According the Reuters story, “A new survey of critical infrastructure organizations in North and South American carried out by Trend Micro for the Organization of American States (OAS), finds that a surprisingly high percentage have faced hacking attacks designed to destroy data or manipulate equipment…” Polling over 500 organizations, the survey found that approximately forty percent suffered attacks that attempted to shut down their networks, over forty percent had attempts to delete files, and over fifty percent actually had hackers try to gain control and manipulate SCADA control systems.
Not long ago hackers with a Russian IP address beached the cybersecurity at a plant in Illinois and were able to control the SCADA systems and damaged pumps at the facility. Chinese hackers attacked Telvent and installed malicious code, and writing in ComputerWorld recently Darlene Storm notes “… it seems like critical infrastructure is a ripe target that is pretty sweet for attackers”.
It seems clear from recent events and from the survey mentioned in the Reuters article that bad actors from all corners of the globe are bent on the reconnaissance of our critical infrastructure. Some have suggested that they are ‘mapping the battlefield’ in the event that diplomatic talk turns to kinetic action. In any event, we have seen adequate warnings that our sixteen critical infrastructures are in jeopardy…I hope that people in the appropriate high places are paying attention.
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Destructive Hacking Attempts Target Critical Infrastructure in Americas: Survey
Reuters (04/07/15) Menn, Joseph
Storm, D. (2041). Hackers exploit SCADA holes to take full control of critical infrastructure. Retrieved from the Internet at http://www.computerworld.com/article/2475789/cybercrime-hacking/hackers-exploit-scada-holes-to-take-full-control-of-critical-infrastructure.html
Reuters article at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/07/us-cybersecurity-americas-idUSKBN0MY06Z20150407
Vijayan, J. (2011). 4 lessons from the Springfield, Ill. SCADA cyberattack. Retrieved from the Internet at http://www.computerworld.com/article/2499317/security0/4-lessons-from-the-springfield–ill–scada-cyberattack.html