On October 31, 2006 it was reported that hackers had broken into a water treatment plant in Harrisburg, Pa. earlier this month. An employees laptop computer used to check tank levels was compromised, and used as an entry point to install malware on the plant's computer system. The incident is currently under investigation by the FBI.
Jerri Williams of the Philadephia FBI states that "We did not believe that they were doing it to compromise the actual water system, but just to used the computer as a resource for distributing e-mails or whatever electronic information they had planned." Even though the plant's systems weren't targeted, there could have had "grave consequences" according to Mike Snyder the Security Coordinator for the Pennsylvania section of the American Water works Association. Mr. Snyder goes on to say that the attackers "could possibly raise the level of chlorine being injected into the water...which would make the water dangerous to drink"
After the 9/11 attacks, security has at water plants has been beefed up. But water systems may still be connected to administrative networks which are connected to the Internet.
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Hacking a water plant?