GCN Tech Blog

By GCN Staff

Blog archive

Control systems open to attack

Hot on the heels of Jerry Dixon's warnings of inadequately secured control systems, a spokesperson from the Central Intelligence Agency disclosed that extortionists have threatened to disrupt power-generating equipment in other unnamed countries, by means of computer-based infiltration. And in one case, they may have actually done so.

"We have information that cyber attacks have been used to disrupt power equipment in several regions outside the United States. 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," said CIA senior analyst Tom Donahue at the SANS security summit for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems.

One of the reoccurring themes we heard repeatedly at the SANS Security 2008 summit this week in New Orleans is how pitiful the security is on the control systems used to run the country's power stations, water systems, transit systems and other basic infrastructure. In many cases, these systems just weren't designed to be operated on a network, and their defenses would make the average desktop computer look like Fort Knox.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Jan 19, 2008 at 9:39 AM


  • Management
    people standing on keyboard (Who is Danny/Shutterstock.com)

    OPM-GSA merger plan detailed in legislative proposal

    The White House is proposing legislation for a dramatic overhaul of human resources inside government and wants $50 million to execute the plan.

  • Cloud
    cloud applications (chanpipat/Shutterstock.com)

    GSA plans civilian DEOS counterpart

    GSA is developing a cloud email and enterprise services contract inspired by the single-source vehicle the Department of Defense devised for back-office software.

  • Defense
    software (whiteMocca/Shutterstock.com)

    DOD looks to unify software spending for 2020

    Defense Department acquisition head, Ellen Lord, hopes to simplify software buying and improve business systems following the release of the Defense Innovation Board's final software acquisition study.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.