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Electric Utility Hit with Record Fine for Vulnerabilities

An unnamed power company has consented to a record fine for leaving critical records exposed.

A record $2.7 million fine has been levied against an electric utility for vulnerabilities in its IT infrastructure.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that it has reached a consent agreement with an unnamed electric utility for the fine over the exposure of information regarding critical infrastructure for at least 70 days. The exposed information includes tidbits like system names and locations, user names, and cryptographic information that could be used to decrypt passwords.

All of the information was in a file that was entirely open to the public, with no user name or password required for access. In this case, there is no allegation that a breach actually occurred because of the vulnerability: the fine is for the vulnerability itself.

The utility's name was redacted from the public version of the NERC notification, though the filing did include standard language from consent decrees to the effect of, "we didn't do it the first time and we promise not to do it again." 

For more, read here.

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