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.

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~€25 billion in FY2016, our 144,000 employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Our connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this *Life Is On*. Schneider Electric is the worldwide expert in energy administration and automation. With incomes of ~€25 billion in FY2016, our 144,000 representatives serve clients in more than 100 nations, Schneider Electric helping them to deal with their energy and process in ways that are protected, dependable, productive and practical. From the least difficult of changes to complex operational frameworks, Schneider Electric innovation, programming and administrations enhance the way our clients oversee and computerize their operations. Schneider Electric associated advancements reshape businesses, change urban communities and advance lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this Life Is On. Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries. With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software. In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest Partner, Integrator and Developer Community on our Open Platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency. We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and Sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.


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