Cybersecurity Deficiencies Threaten Critical Infrastructures

Recent CIA reports highlight the agency’s increased focus on the lack of cybersecurity in our nation’s critical infrastructures, including transportation, emergency services and utilities. Following recent blackmail attempts by hackers threatening to shut off power to utilities, as well as actual attacks in unidentified locations in Central and Latin America, the CIA has launched a global search for these hackers, the U.K.’s Daily Mail recently reported.


Industrial Security Incident Database reports indicate that the number of cyberattacks on infrastructure is growing: From 1981 to 2001, the database reported an incidence rate of 27 percent, while from 2002 to 2006, the number jumped to 73 percent.


Casey Potenzone, CIO of security technology provider Uniloc, recalled one example of such an attack: “In Australia, about eight years ago, they fired their waste disposal management engineer. [Then], from home, [he] dialed into the network and was able to turn the sewage pumps backwards, and he literally flooded an entire vacation resort with sewage.”


This is just one example of how a nation’s infrastructure could be compromised by hackers. However, some of the consequences could be more serious than a rotten vacation. “For the first time, these types of hackers have access to real physical implications,” said Potenzone. “[If] you break in and you change a system, you could shut down a power plant; you could shut the flow of water off; you could create gridlocks and a foundation for other problems. Imagine if you could disable emergency services just by…


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