Computer Hacker Gains Access to Florida City's Water Supply

Computer Hacker Gains Access to Florida City's Water Supply

A computer hacker in the US was able to gain access to the water system of Oldsmar in Florida and successfully increased the amount of sodium hydroxide.

Ray Stevens
Ray Stevens
Content Writer
February 18, 2021

According to the BBC, a computer controlling the water treatment system was remotely accessed, with a plant operator seeing an attempt to gain access, but assumed it was just his supervisor. Another attempt was then made later that same day, with the treatment software accessed and the sodium hydroxide content increased.

The news source went on to note that this isn't the first time that such an incident has taken place. In 2016, for example, a security report from Verizon made mention of a similar attack on another water facility in the US and last year saw numerous unsuccessful hacks on water supplies in Israel.

Water supplies, nuclear plants, electricity and transport are tested all the time for weak and vulnerable areas of their operations because of the potential for mass disruption, but also because they often use out-of-date IT systems, which makes them more susceptible.

If you're worried about your business operations, penetration testing (or pen test) could prove particularly beneficial, as this will reveal areas for improvement very quickly indeed.

It involves carrying out an authorised simulated cyber attack on your computer system to evaluate the security levels, revealing how your business will stand up to an attack in case it does ever happen.

Note that pen tests are different to vulnerability tests, which aim to identify weaknesses across your system, but without exploiting them.

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