Hacker gained access to Bay Area drinking water facility

Someone surreptitiously gained access to a Bay Area community’s water supply and cut programs that treat drinking water, NBC News reported.

The breach occurred on January 15 and was noticed the next day by employees of the anonymous facility, who changed passwords and added programs. The individual is labeled a hacker, but it doesn’t appear that it took a lot of hacking to get in. The person obtained the username and password of a former plant employee and simply logged into the system.

Although NBC News said the hacker “attempted to poison” the Bay Area’s drinking water, this claim was disputed by a Northern California Regional Intelligence Center official who spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle . (SFGATE and the Chronicle are both owned by Hearst, but operate independently of each other.)

“It takes a lot to influence a water supply chain,” said executive director Michael Sena. “For a big impact there has to be a big change in the chemicals in the system. The amount of chemicals it would take to harm people … the numbers are astronomical.”

Nonetheless, the attack is another disturbing look at the porosity of America’s water treatment facilities. In February, a similar attack in Florida made national headlines. An employee at the Oldsmar factory said he saw a hacker take control of his computer, moving the slider to open the program that controls the amount of laundry allowed into the water supply. The hacker added enough lye to corrode the pipes and make people sick before the employee regained control and reset the levels.

“Of all of the country’s critical infrastructure, water is perhaps the most vulnerable to hackers: the hardest to ensure everyone follows basic cybersecurity steps, and the easiest to cause major damage and damage. real to a lot of people, ”NBC News wrote.

The FBI is reportedly still investigating the hack into the Bay Area water supply.

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