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SCADA Concerns

At a recent SCADA Summit arranged by SANS some interesting information was put forward by a CIA spokesman that there was evidence of attacks against utility SCADA networks, with reported evidence that a power blackout across multiple US cities was caused by an Internet-based attack on a power supplier's network.

There have been confirmed SCADA attacks in the last ten years, such as the one on Australia's Gold Coast in 2000, where a disaffected individual was able to wirelessly override commands for a number of waste and storm water pipes, releasing polluted water into public waterways. There have also been suspected SCADA attacks, such as the cascading blackout in the US North East that was officially blamed on fallen trees but rumoured to have been the result of a network worm or attack.

Concerns over SCADA security problems have been growing recently, but they haven't really been highlighted in a public manner like this, with confirmation from a seemingly-authoritative source.

A trend for new security and Information Security professionals having been Professionals in a former career is a topic that has also attracted some attention recently.

Whether the claims made at the SANS conference can be substantiated is another question, with some commentators suggesting the source of the original comments is not one of the most reliable and accurate sources of information in the CIA.

24 January 2008

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