CIA Says Hackers Have Cut Power Grid

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by kmguru, Jan 19, 2008.

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  1. kmguru Staff Member

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    This is control engineering, I am not sure where it goes...so here it is...

    CIA Says Hackers Have Cut Power Grid
    Several cities outside the U.S. have sustained attacks on utility systems and extortion demands.
    Robert McMillan, IDG News Service
    Saturday, January 19, 2008 6:00 AM PST

    Criminals have been able to hack into computer systems via the Internet and cut power to several cities, a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency analyst said this week.

    Speaking at a conference of security professionals on Wednesday, CIA analyst Tom Donahue disclosed the recently declassified attacks while offering few specifics on what actually went wrong.

    Criminals have launched online attacks that disrupted power equipment in several regions outside of the U.S., he said, without identifying the countries affected. The goal of the attacks was extortion, he said.

    "We have information, from multiple regions outside the United States, of cyber intrusions into utilities, followed by extortion demands," he said in a statement posted to the Web on Friday by the conference's organizers, the SANS Institute. "In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities. We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet."

    "According to Mr. Donahue, the CIA actively and thoroughly considered the benefits and risks of making this information public, and came down on the side of disclosure," SANS said in the statement.

    One conference attendee said the disclosure came as news to many of the government and industry security professionals in attendance. "It appeared that there were a lot of people who didn't know this already," said the attendee, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak with the press.

    He confirmed SANS' report of the talk. "There were apparently a couple of incidents where extortionists cut off power to several cities using some sort of attack on the power grid, and it does not appear to be a physical attack," he said.

    Hacking the power grid made front-page headlines in September when CNN aired a video showing an Idaho National Laboratory demonstration of a software attack on the computer system used to control a power generator. In the demonstration, the smoking generator was rendered inoperable.

    The U.S. is taking steps to lock down the computers that manage its power systems, however.

    On Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved new mandatory standards designed to improve cybersecurity.

    CIA representatives could not be reached immediately for comment.
     
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  3. kmguru Staff Member

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    Why idiots put the control systems network on the Internet, I would not know. Sometimes rather than using the real control engineers, companies save money by hiring non-control engineers to do the job. May be that is why their arse is wide open?
     
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  5. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

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    It's Skynet.
     
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  7. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    was that a joke?

    Ie the computer from the terminator movies??
     
  8. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, Skynets online, run for your lives..

    Seriously, Wtf ? anyone see Die hard 4 ? That would be cool.
     
  9. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    actually thats what i thought about when i read about this
     
  10. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    It's the usual method a hacker gets in, they get in through low security access points. Namely not the high end systems that govern the electricity systems but the either the workers own computer or the company computer used for private usage, it inevitable that a hacker could gain access to a system they usually shouldn't be accessible.

    At the end of the day it's just about people not following protocol, afterall the L0PHT already identified such threats, but did anyone really listen?
     
  11. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    fire sale

    Nah its impossable isnt is:itold::soapbox::wallbang:
     
  12. draqon Banned Banned

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    sweet...I should make it my hobby too...
    I used to at least.
     
  13. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

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    Fire sale? I'm not sure that Skynet would have been worse...
     
  14. kmguru Staff Member

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    CIA thinks it is serious guys. Since CIA people are rarely engineers, what would they know about the difference between a hacker and a trouble maker. It is like a bank teller stealing money from the bank...and bank robbery from outside with a note and fake gun.
     
  15. neonecho Registered Member

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    nah, i think kmguru's story is too exagerrated.
    the wound is smaller than what is actually reported.

    video.aol.com/video-detail/hacking-the-art-of-attacking-computers/3777548752
     
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