Hackers Turn Off Lights, Demand Cash

Hackers literally turned out the lights in "several regions outside the United States" after breaking into electrical utilities and demanding extortion payments before disrupting the power, senior CIA analyst Tom Donahue told utility engineers at a trade conference earlier this week. Although Donahue did not specify what countries were affected, when the outages occurred or how long the outages lasted, he said the U.S. government believes some of the hackers had inside knowledge to cause the outages. "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."

The Bush administration is increasingly worried about the little-understood risks from hackers to the specialized electronic equipment that operates power, water and chemical plants. In a test last year, known as the "Aurora Generator Test", the Homeland Security Department produced a video showing commands quietly triggered by simulated hackers having such a violent reaction that an enormous generator shudders as it flies apart and belches black-and-white smoke.

News source: SiliconValley.com

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[bush] "Because of these attacks.. we'll uhhh.. have to monitor internet traffic for uhhh... the safety of the people... and uhhh... keep us safe from tyrsts..." [/bush]

a great quote from /.

"why are these systems even online?"


i think if they are to be 'online' you should have to vpn into a network and then authenticate to the power system to use them to me it sounds like the server(s) are just plugged right into a internet connection with a public ip

(Felosis said @ #2)
i think if they are to be 'online' you should have to vpn...

No, they should not be on the public Internet at all. Systems at this level are so vital to the economic infrastructure that they should be disconnected from the Internet. If power generation sites need interconnectivity they should be on a separate private line dedicated network. The only parts of the energy infrastructure that should be on the Internet are the billing systems but these would only need to be connected to power meters. The drawback of separating these systems is that there would be no digital way to automate cutting power when someone doesn't pay their bills. I think the benefit of separating the systems far outweighs the cost.

(linuxamp said @ #2.1)

No, they should not be on the public Internet at all. Systems at this level are so vital to the economic infrastructure that they should be disconnected from the Internet. If power generation sites need interconnectivity they should be on a separate private line dedicated network. The only parts of the energy infrastructure that should be on the Internet are the billing systems but these would only need to be connected to power meters. The drawback of separating these systems is that there would be no digital way to automate cutting power when someone doesn't pay their bills. I think the benefit of separating the systems far outweighs the cost.

I agree with this. Vital systems such as these should NOT ever be on the public internet at all. Certain sections of the network may be alright to have internet connectivity, but any of the main servers that allows control of their systems should not be connected to the internet at all.

How are power stations meant to communicate with each other? The cheapest option is through public telecommunication networks...

So, mysterious power outages in unnamed countries for unknown amounts of time... all without being in the media as far as I know... and high profile demands for extortion money from anonymous sources. Hmm. Yeah. Why am I having trouble believing any of this?

"Yeah, well you see, this one place totally had this hacker problem. It's true. I can't tell you where or what, but they TOTALLY did. So give up all your civil liberties so we can make sure it never happens again. C'mon!"

nobody said that anyones any new laws would change 'civil liberties'. regardless, if you're saying that the ability to conduct cyber attacks a 'civil liberty', then you have some serious thinking to do.

sThis has to be fake right. I was watching live free and die hard on blu-ray and was thinking our nations government networks cant have the huge glaring holes that the movies had but then I see this. This is fake right? (i hope)

Very fake. There are no central electrical grid hubs that can take down the majority of the country. Each utility company has their own system - many of which use different voltages etc...but that wouldn't make for a great action movie.

Has to be a fake story. Even Bush and his comrade of morons, can't be that dumb/clueless!!

Can they? :eek:

Love that pic. Quite a resemblance!!

Actually, I think the term you're looking for is "Black Hats" which means "bad hacker". Crackers are either what you serve with cheese or the locals here in Florida.

huh,this seems like the plot from a movie...can't really remember the title :p

but...

" "several regions outside the United States" "

Again, Team America World Police

i think the guy just watched the latest diehard movie adn thought it was a documentary, all i can say is the conspiracy theorists are at it again..

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