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Mocana is working with the device maker on a fix, Stammberger said. His firm presented its findings at the ICS Cyber Security Conference in September.

Even if a manufacturer fixes the problem in new devices, there’s no easy way to fix it in older units, short of installing new equipment. Industrial facilities are loath to do that because of the costs of even temporarily shutting its operations.

“The situation is not at all as bad as it was five to six years ago, but there’s much that remains to be done,” said Ulf Lindqvist, an expert on industrial control systems with SRI International. “We need to be as innovative and organized on the good-guy side as the bad guys can be.”

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Jordan Robertson can be reached at jrobertson(at)ap.org