A hacker gained entry to the system controlling the water treatment plant of a Florida city of 15,000 and tried to taint the water supply with a caustic chemical, exposing a danger cybersecurity experts say has grown as systems become both more computerized and accessible via the internet.
The hacker who breached the system at the city of Oldsmar’s water treatment plant on Friday using a remote access program shared by plant workers briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide by a factor of one hundred (from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million), Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during a news conference Monday…..
Fortunately, a supervisor saw the chemical being tampered with — as a mouse controlled by the intruder moved across the screen changing settings — and was able to intervene and immediately reverse it, Gualtieri said. Oldsmar is about 15 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of Tampa.
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Hackers who breached federal agency networks through software made by a company called SolarWinds appear to have conducted a test run of their broad espionage campaign last year, according to sources with knowledge of the operation.
Five months later, the hackers added new malicious files to the SolarWinds software update servers that got distributed and installed on the networks of federal government agencies and other customers. These new files installed a backdoor on victim networks that allowed the hackers to directly access them. Once inside an infected network, the attackers could have used the SolarWinds software to learn about the structure of the network or alter the configuration of network systems.
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Sometimes, the events that transpire inside a company could be just as exciting and nail-biting as the most popular thrillers in fiction. In Tesla’s case, such a scenario recently played out, as a worker in Gigafactory Nevada ended up turning down a $1 million incentive, working closely with the FBI, and thwarting a planned cybersecurity attack against the electric car maker.
This Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced the arrest of Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, a Russian citizen accused of conspiring to breach the network of a US company and introduce malware to compromise the said company’s networks. Media reports about the incident have identified the US company to be electric car maker Tesla. Interestingly enough, a criminal complaint filed by the FBI Las Vegas Field Office suggests that the attempted cybersecurity attack is no ordinary hacking attempt — it may very well be part of a well-financed, organized, scheme.
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As organizations go digital, so does crime. Today, cybercrime is a massive business in its own right, and criminals everywhere are clamoring to get a piece of the action as companies and consumers invest trillions to stake their claim in the digital universe.
Putting things into perspective: Walmart, which racks up America’s greatest firm earnings, generated a mind-blowing $514 billion in revenue last year. Yet cybercrime earns 12 times that. Both sell a huge variety of products and services. In fact, in terms of earnings, cybercrime puts even Tesla, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Walmart to shame. Their combined annual revenue totals “just” $1.28 trillion.
Cybercrime is undergoing an industrialization wave and offers everything that a regular legal company does: product development, technical support, distribution, quality assurance, and even customer service. Cybercriminals rob and then sell new technologies or secret strategic plans that will give their buyers an edge over their competitors. Hackers steal military secrets, renewable energy innovations, and more.
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In some kinds of malicious PDF attacks, the PDF reader itself contains a vulnerability or flaw that allows a file to execute malicious code. Remember that PDF readers aren’t just applications like Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat.