Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

2/8/2021
04:20 PM
50%
50%

Hacker Raised Chemical Settings at Water Treatment Plant to Dangerous Levels

Remote access interface breached at Florida utility; attacker detected raising level of sodium hydroxide in water.

An attacker broke into the Florida city of Oldsmar's water treatment system on Feb. 5 and temporarily set the amount of lye applied to drinking water to toxic levels before an operator discovered the breach and corrected the settings.

Local officials from Oldsmar and Pinellas County, Fla., said in a press briefing today that the water supply itself was not affected and the public was "never in danger." The attacker was able to remotely access the system for up to five minutes and raise the level of sodium hydroxide (aka lye) by a factor of more than 100, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. At that point the operator noticed the anamoly and reset the proper levels of lye, which is used for controlling water acidity levels.

Related Content:

Hacking the PLC via Its Engineering Software

Special Report: How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem

New From The Edge: What's the Difference Between 'Observability' and 'Visibility' in Security?

The officials said systemic redundancies would have triggered alarms had the malicious settings not been detected.

"The protocols that we have in place, monitoring protocols, they work; that's the good news," said Oldsmar Mayor Eric Seidel. "Even had they not caught them, there's redundancies in the system that would have caught the change in the pH level."

The remote access function - which Reuters reports was TeamViewer - has been disabled on the water treatment computer system. The FBI, US Secret Service, and local officials are investigating the attack. 

See the press conference recording here and read more here

 

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-20092
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
File Upload vulnerability exists in ArticleCMS 1.0 via the image upload feature at /admin by changing the Content-Type to image/jpeg and placing PHP code after the JPEG data, which could let a remote malicious user execute arbitrary PHP code.
CVE-2020-21342
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
Insecure permissions issue in zzcms 201910 via the reset any user password in /one/getpassword.php.
CVE-2020-25713
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
A malformed input file can lead to a segfault due to an out of bounds array access in raptor_xml_writer_start_element_common.
CVE-2020-27823
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
A flaw was found in OpenJPEG’s encoder. This flaw allows an attacker to pass specially crafted x,y offset input to OpenJPEG to use during encoding. The highest threat from this vulnerability is to confidentiality, integrity, as well as system availability.
CVE-2020-27830
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
A vulnerability was found in Linux Kernel where in the spk_ttyio_receive_buf2() function, it would dereference spk_ttyio_synth without checking whether it is NULL or not, and may lead to a NULL-ptr deref crash.