Saturday, November 19, 2011

Alleged Cyber Attack on U.S. Water Plant is Propaganda to Curb Internet Freedom

Eric Blair
Activist Post

The Washington Post is reporting that recent damage to an Illinois water treatment plant was a cyber attack by foreign hackers, "Foreign hackers caused a pump at an Illinois water plant to fail last week, according to a preliminary state report."

The narrative of the attack is that a Russian-based hacker created minor "glitches" in the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) which, according to Krebs on Security, is "designed to monitor and control complex industrial networks." Apparently, it caused the system to turn on and off, resulting in the burnout of a water pump.

Despite the alarmist title of the article, DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard cautioned "At this time there is no credible corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety.”

Although the "original source of the information was unknown and impossible to immediately verify," the claim is allegedly made in a “Public Water District Cyber Intrusion” report.  Industry expert and Department of Homeland Security adviser, Joe Weiss, as if on a publicity tour, called both the Washington Post and Wired with alarmist rhetoric.


Weiss conclusively told the Washington Post, "This is a big deal. It was tracked to Russia. It has been in the system for at least two to three months.  It has caused damage. We don’t know how many other utilities are currently compromised."

Yet, the DHS maintains that there is no credible data or threat, and Don Craven, a water district trustee, told the State Journal-Register that they don't know what caused it and that "the water district is up and running and things are fine.”

Still, Weiss told Wired,“There very easily could be other utilities as we speak who have their networks compromised,” he said. “This is unconscionable.”

If this highly speculative report is true, it would not only be the first time hackers successfully infiltrated and physically damaged a public utility in the United States, it would also be the first time they did so through the Internet.

As was determined with the now infamous Stuxnet attack on Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, a virus was planted on a USB stick that was plugged it into a computer at a secure facility -- not through the Internet.

Expert insiders agree that Stuxnet was so sophisticated that it could have only come from U.S. and/or Israeli engineers,  Since neither government has denied these allegations, it represents the only substantial hack attack with a credible culprit.

To date, most alleged cyber attacks have been vague stories of shadowy hackers originating from IP addresses in Romania or China.  Despite having no verified accounts of successful external attacks on public utilities, the fear propaganda of cyber threats persist. 

Any credible investigator would look for motive in such attacks.  It's interesting that no one would seem to benefit from attacking a random small water treatment facility except, of course, the cyber defense industry itself -- of which Joe Weiss, the oft-referred to expert source for this recent unconfirmed attack, is a beneficiary of.

In all honesty, what sober "hacker" would waste their time and sophistication to target a minor public utility?  And what type of cyber terrorist would waste their talent on such a fruitless endeavor?  The idea that this is a "big deal . . . tracked to Russia," as Weiss stated, implies some sort of nation-state sponsorship, making such a low-level attack even more implausible.

What we do know, however, is that the U.S. is hellbent on controlling the Internet.  Therefore, they appear to have the motive to create perceived threats in order to offer the solution of reduced Internet freedom and privacy.

Indeed, one of the proposed "solutions" is to require a digital ID for all web users just to access the Internet.  And if that is unsuccessful, they've devised other draconian solutions like making it a felony to lie on the Internet.

So this over-hyped, completely unsubstantiated cyber attack appears to be nothing more than another attempt of fear mongering by government-funded "experts" in order to pursue their desired agenda to castrate Internet freedom.



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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can any of believe anything DHS says. As far as I am concerned this was staged and the ultimate agenda is continued repression of internet freedom.

pod said...

I am a Master Electrician and Instrument Technician in Canada. I work with SCADA systems and other controls. This hacker story is nonsense.
When any system is designed, the most important design features relate to the fail-safe condition. Because of this, any computer control could be completely removed and the system operated manually by operators who know what they are doing. Consider an old boiler system where coal was shovelled into a furnace and all valves were manually operated. The modern version uses gas but this is done to improve efficiency.
Each automatic valve is backed up by a manually operated valve and/or a bypass. This is done so that items can be removed for maintenance.
Automatic sensors are additional to visual gauges.
If a motor burned up this would not be caused by computer hacking.
The motor circuit is protected by circuit-breakers and overload protection in addition to any sensors and transmitters that would send the motor temperature to a computer.
If the computer was removed, the system could still protect the motor.

Anonymous said...

Righto Mr. Eric! Those buzzards will do anything to get more money and control.

Anyway, gots to go. I've got North Korean hackers taking over my refrigerator, replacing all my beers with kimchee and Hillary dolls. Someone SAY SOMETHING!

Anonymous said...

Cutting through the matrix on this one. Wired and Washington Post are so hungry to push the cyber security agenda, it's sick. Good article

Anonymous said...

Excellent article Eric. When are the elite going to get creative? Same story, second verse of the underwear bomber, the shoe bomber, Waco and 911. Look how far we have progressed since all of those events! Health harming scanners, hands down our pants, suspension of habeas corpus and the destruction of our jobs, homes, etc. Welcome to 1984!

Anonymous said...

I'm an electrician and electronics tech, and programmer, and I agree this is propaganda to crack down on the web.

When they track it to a country you know it's just the proxy! If they used a Chinese proxy, DHS would be blaming China.

DHS has to go, they are in opposition of the US Constitution.

And dear SCADA people, disconnect your junk from the web, or get a firewall up. Come on, seriously. If you can't do that, then it's time to snap the antenna, smash the receiver, and create manual labor jobs with manual controls, to turn the freaking knobs.

Anonymous said...

What happened to their DMZ'z anyway?

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