SCADA hack blamed for pump failure

A burned out pump in a small Illinois water district has some experts believing a hacker may have attacked the water utility's SCADA system...

Nov. 22, 2012 -- A burned out pump in a small Illinois water district has some experts believing a hacker may have attacked the water utility's SCADA system.

A report from the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center suggested hackers from Russia used stolen software credentials to gain access to the water utility's SCADA system, turning a pump on and off until it burned out.

Utility employees at the Curran-Gardner Township Public Water District reportedly noticed minor glitches in the system in the two to three months leading up to the pump failure but did not suspect a security breach.

The water districts 2,200 customers experienced no interruption of service as a result of the incident, but managing partner of Applied Control Solutions and security expert Joe Weiss said in his blog that the event "raises serious questions" about the lack of security awareness in the water industry.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are investigating the incident but are downplaying its severity. According to Reuters, DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard said, "At this time there is no credible corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety."

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