Cyber Attacks On U.S. Utilities, Industries Rising, With Increasing Sophistication

Washington Post, September 30, 2011

U.S. utilities and industries face a rising number of cyber break-ins by attackers using more sophisticated methods, a senior Homeland Security Department official said during the government’s first media tour of secretive defense labs intended to protect the nation’s power grid, water systems and other vulnerable infrastructure. Acting DHS Deputy Undersecretary Greg Schaffer told reporters Thursday that the world’s utilities and industries increasingly are becoming vulnerable as they wire their industrial machinery to the Internet. “We are connecting equipment that has never been connected before to these global networks,” Schaffer said. Disgruntled employees, hackers and perhaps foreign governments “are knocking on the doors of these systems, and there have been intrusions.” According to the DHS, Control System Security Program cyber experts based at the Idaho National Laboratory responded to 116 requests for assistance in 2010, and 342 so far this year. Department officials declined to give details about emergency response team deployments, citing confidentiality agreements with the companies involved. Under current law, the reporting of cyber attacks by private organizations is strictly voluntary. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/us-official-cyber-attacks-on-us-utilities-industries-rising-with-increasing-sophistication/2011/09/29/gIQAsdcD8K_story.html?wpisrc=nl_tech

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