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Feds probing possible cyberattacks at Illinois, Texas utilities
Mr. Langevin told The Times that the owners and operators of U.S. water and power systems and other infrastructure are “dragging their feet in terms of improving their computer security” to protect their systems from hacking.
Whatever the truth of the Illinois and Texas incidents, “We know this can be done,” he said, describing it as “massive risk we’re facing as a country.”
The Illinois report says the hackers likely had access to the system for several weeks. The attackers got access using passwords stolen from a company that sells ICS, meaning that other systems across the country also might be vulnerable to the hackers, according to SCADA security specialist Joseph Weiss, who first made the Illinois report public.
“This is a giant issue for the SCADA community,” said Air Force Lt. Robert M. Lee, who has worked on SCADA cybersecurity issues.
If the Illinois report is correct, the attackers “created the same outcome that the Stuxnet achieved with Iranian centrifuges,” he said.
The Stuxnet attack destroyed hundreds of Iran’s uranium-enriching centrifuges by making the SCADA system spin them at ever-higher speeds until they shook to pieces.
“If I’m a foreign intelligence service, looking for ways to attack U.S. infrastructure,” Lt. Lee said, “I’m going to do my homework, my intelligence gathering, in a smaller utility” like Curran-Gardner, where it is less likely to be noticed.
Mr. Langevin said it is “more likely that not” that the U.S. would “suffer a major cyber-attack [on critical infrastructure] in the near future.
“We’re very, very vulnerable if we don’t act,” he said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
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