Policy makers have long worried over programs that can remotely sabotage industrial systems because of their potential to deal catastrophic damage across the internet
Computer code displayed on a computer screen, photo: Pexels
12 of June 2017 15:41:04
PARIS – Researchers have found a troubling new form of power grid-wrecking software, tying the discovery to a recent Ukrainian blackout in two reports published Monday.The malicious software has the ability to remotely sabotage circuit breakers, switches and protection relays, the reports say, a nightmare scenario for those charged with keeping the lights on."The potential impact of malware like this is huge," said Robert Lipovsky, a researcher with Slovakian anti-virus firm ESET, which first obtained the rogue program. "It's not restricted to Ukraine. The industrial hardware that the malware communicates with is used in critical infrastructure worldwide."Policy makers have long worried over programs that can remotely sabotage industrial systems because of their potential to deal catastrophic damage across the internet. Examples of hackers being able to turn off the lights were once confined to the movie screens, but that is slowly changing. In 2010 researchers discovered Stuxnet, a groundbreaking piece of malware apparently designed to sabotage Iran's nuclear program by sending its centrifuge machines spinning out of control. In 2015, a cyberattack left upward of 200,000 people without power in Ukraine.
"The vast majority of industrial control system networks around the world are not protected," said Galina Antova, the co-founder of infrastructure security firm Claroty.Ordinary hacking can be disruptive enough, but when something like a power grid is involved, "the impact is much, much more significant."
Possibly not good when existing malware can shut down electricity in Europe and U.S. "with small modifications." https://t.co/Q5iTmB1boC— Joseph Menn (@josephmenn) June 12, 2017