Computer controls of electric power systems vulnerable

According to the GAO, “for several years,
security risks have been reported in the control systems on which many
of the nation’s critical infrastructures rely to monitor and control
sensitive processes and physical functions. In addition to a steady
increase in general cyber threats, several factors have contributed to
the escalation of risks specific to control systems, including the
adoption of standardized technologies with known vulnerabilities;
connectivity of control systems with other networks; insecure remote
connections; and widespread availability of technical information about
control systems.”

US intelligencefound software and
programming instructions for the digital supervisory control and data
acquisition (SCADA) switches that monitor and control power and
communications grids on laptops belonging to Al Qaeda members during
raids in Afghanistan and elsewhere. In February, an internal CIA report
declared Al Qaeda had “far more interest” in cyberterrorism than
previously believed, and clearly was considering hacking as part of
their arsenal.

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre reported on PBS’s April 24, 2003 Frontline
report, “Cyberwar”, that confiscated laptop computers belonging to Al
Qaeda members revealed “probing of sites dealing with programming of
SCADA systems and control of SCADA systems within electrical and other
power company scenarios.” HST

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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