Codebreaker

National hackery

Marketplace Staff Nov 18, 2011

Norway’s National Security Agency (NSM) is saying that industrial chemical plants, utilities, and hi-tech firms were all duped as part of one of the biggest attacks ever seen on that country’s computer networks. From the BBC: “The NSM believes the attacks are the work of one group, based on its analysis of the methods used to target individuals, code inside the viruses and how the data was extracted.” The crooks made off with industrial drawings, user names, passwords, contracts, and other documents. The NSM says it decided to make this information public “to serve as a warning and to encourage other targeted firms to come forward.” There were no viruses in the computers. This was a pure phishing scam in which carefully crafted emails were sent to key people to extract information.

Also, a Springfield, Ill. water facility is revealing that it has also been hacked. More sophisticated than a phishing scam in this case. One of the plants pumps shut down after the attacker remotely took control of its power switch, which burned out the motor after repeatedly turning it off and on.

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