November 21, 2011
In what cyber security experts say is a first, foreign hackers compromised the computer system of an American utility company and damaged equipment.
Infiltrators using an IP address in Russia gained remote access into the control system of the Curran-Gardner Townships Public Water District in Springfield, Illinois. They destroyed a water pump by ordering the system to turn on and off repeatedly.
Their point of entry was the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA), which may have been hacked as early as September, according to forensic evidence examined by experts. The hackers were able to get into the SCADA by first breaking into the network of a software vendor that makes the system used by the utility. They stole user names and passwords of SCADA customers and used these to gain access to the system.