Hackers halt plant operations in watershed cyber attack
Posted by Schneider Electric on December 15th, 2017
Hackers likely working for a nation-state recently invaded the safety system of a critical infrastructure facility in a watershed attack that halted plant operations, according to cyber investigators and the firm whose software was targeted.
FireEye Inc (FEYE.O) disclosed the incident on Thursday, saying it targeted Triconex industrial safety technology from Schneider Electric SE (SCHN.PA).
Schneider confirmed that the incident had occurred and that it had issued a security alert to users of Triconex, which cyber experts said is widely used in the energy industry, including at nuclear facilities, and oil and gas plants.
FireEye and Schneider declined to identify the victim, industry or location of the attack. Cyber-security company Dragos said the hackers targeted an organization in the Middle East, while a second firm, CyberX, said it believe the victim was in Saudi Arabia.
It marks the first report of a safety system breach at an industrial plant by hackers, who have in recent years placed increasing attention on breaking into utilities, factories and other types of critical infrastructure, cyber experts said.
Compromising a safety system could let hackers shut them down in advance of attacking other parts of an industrial plant, potentially preventing operators from identifying and halting destructive attacks, they said.
Safety systems “could be fooled to indicate that everything is okay,” even as hackers damage a plant, said Galina Antova, co-founder of cyber-security firm Claroty.
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