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Hackers break into water system network


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#1
Metallica

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http://www.computerw...ticleId=9004659

October 31, 2006 (IDG News Service) -- An
infected laptop gave hackers access to computer
systems at a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, water treatment
plant earlier this month.

The plant's systems were accessed in early October
after an employee's laptop computer was compromised
via the Internet,


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#2
Mr.Chow

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"It's a serious situation because they could possibly raise the level of chlorine being injected into the water... which would make the water dangerous to drink."

haha WOW ! haha
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#3
james_8970

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Mr.Chow, this isn't funny at all. These are the things that have always worried me about computers, but hoped no one would ever have the guts to fulfill such an EVIL dead. I'm more so worried about dams rather then water treatment centers. If someone ever hacked into a dam, opened all the emergency overflow valves, anyone living down stream would be under 10 feet of water instantly. Think about the houver dam, it would destroy the power grid to the US, because there wouldn't be nearly the amount of power needed to support the country, since the water levels would be to low to generate power.
This is not a joke and should be taken VERY seriously, identity theft was the beginning, but whats the next step. When will it no longer be safe to use computers to do these tasks? More importantly, will the next terrorist attack be done using a plane, car bomb, or will it be the use of a computer. I cannot stress how much governments must begin to take action, if they wait, it may be to late.
Honestly there should be a process that laptops be scanned when they leave, and anything thats on the hard drive when they come back be removed, however having the option of giving exceptions to a folder or two so that things such as word documents can we worked on at home.
James

I have a bad feeling that this is just be beginning......

Edited by james_8970, 03 November 2006 - 07:11 PM.

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#4
warriorscot

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Well there are usually manual safeguards in place, for example in damns things like opening gates can be computer controlled but there is always a manual over ride. And at a water treatment plant their shoudl be regular testing of water composition at least several times a day if not constantly.

The engineers that build these things arent stupid, there are almost always many safeguards in place so that even a determined person from the outside should only at worst interupt normal operations for a brief spell.

Governments also do take alot of measures to secure their networks intrusions are rare and important systems control computers are rarely have access to the outshide networks and even those are highly secure government networks, when they say highly talented hacker they mean a very very lucky genius.

The hoover dam is on its last legs as well, and without it theoretically there should be enough power to go round as its standard procedure not to be completely reliant on a natural resource that can run out rapidly, in the hoover damns case i do believe the storage is enough for a year and half of normal running and even with the gates completly open it would take a long time to empty the resevoir, which will need to be started in the next few years anyway because the dam will have to be demolished and they wont legally be able to construct another because it has a enormous environmental impact the hoover dam is very impressive however its almost completely destroyed or on the way to destroying the water and soil ecology for hundred of miles around it. You shouldnt be worried about terrorism you should be worried wear youre going to get your power and food in the coming years when the dam has to be shut down, its not just fatigue to concrete and its foundations and the innards of the dam its the whole environment if the dam keeps on going for another decade or two it will turn that whole area into a barron wasteland.

Edited by warriorscot, 03 November 2006 - 08:57 PM.

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#5
Mr.Chow

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See the reason behind my laughing is that as our world makes newer technology we makes things harder on our selves if you think about it. We are the ones that make things so complicated.

Now I'm just curious but why was the laptop hooked up to the internet ? The [bleep] should be on a local network not accesiable to anyone else. Not wireless because that can be easily hacked but a wire network. Things like these should be highly supervised and such to prevent anyone from breaking in.

Your right it isn't much of a joking matter but also to, i give some kind of credit for the hacker that figured it out.


It's kind of how you look at the owner of Mc. Donalds. You may not like him or think that he is smart by making non- healthy food but you must give him credit becasue he created a multi - billion dollar industry.

Or lets take teh tabacco company ! Even better ! They came up with something that everyone would get hooked on ! SO people would keep coming back for it and they could make lotts of money ! If you think of it their way it isn't so bad and is just about what every other sucessful buisness man wants !

So as to these hackers. The fact they were able to do this i think is very incredible, and very intersting ... in a way funny because it shows you just about anything (if not everything) can be cracked ...
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#6
warriorscot

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I think the laptop in question wasnt connected to the internet at the time and was in fact actually infected with malware which it passed on to the water works system, it in fact being not connected to the internet though made it fairly harmless because it wouldnt be able to fulfill its purpose without an internet connection.

At least thats the way it reads to me.
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#7
Mr.Chow

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then i strand corrected on that part of it ... but then the laptop must have been manually infected then ...

I still stand on the ground as to how the setup should be ... nothing that controls the [bleep] should be near the internet. If somthing is on the internet it should have no connection to the equipment.
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#8
SRX660

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My full time job is working in a Utility system. While many cities and countys have gone for remote monitoring of water systems, there are only a few that allow any real control's for things that could affect the system like CL2 control. There is always someone on-call 24 hours a day for these situations. Every system i have worked at has redundant safety controls that alerts someone if a setting is exceeded.

While it might be possible, it is not probable since most system have operators on duty 24 hours a day. I know because i am one of those night operators on duty.

Yes, in the 4 systems i have worked at, none of the networked system running computers are able to access any internet functions except that within the programs running on the computers. These programs take over the computer and do not use browsers and such for data transfer. yes, you can access the programs remotely, but only if you have the same program on your computer and the access passwords to change the systems. Most city's and county's do not take this stuff lightly.

SRX660
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