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Hacker exploits SCADA to attack water system in the US

According to a report in Reuters, investigators are looking into a report that hackers managed to remotely shut down a utility’s water pump in central Illinois last week, in what could be the first known foreign cyber attack on a U.S. industrial system.

[Pictured alongside is the Twitter profile picture of the hacker who claims to have compromised a Texas water plant to show how easy it is. Courtesy: pr0f.]

The attackers obtained access to the network of a water utility with credentials stolen from a company that makes software used to control industrial systems. The motive of the attackers is not known at this stage.

Cyber security experts said that the reported attack highlights the risk that attackers can break into SCADA systems. Currently, SCADA systems control critical infrastructure — from water treatment facilities, chemicals plants and nuclear reactors to gas pipelines, dams and switches on train lines.

The issue of securing SCADA systems from cyber attacks made headlines last year after the Stuxnet virus attacked a centrifuge at a uranium enrichment facility in Iran.

[Read the full report at Reuters.]

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