It has been known for a long time that modern IT technologies are not only a blessing, but can also bring serious disasters, once they find themselves in the hands of intruders. Just such an incident has just been reported by the Tampa Bay Times, published in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The published article reports on the successful hacking of the computer network of the Oldsmar city sewage treatment plant by hackers. After gaining access to the control system, the attackers began to change the chemical level of the wastewater, deliberately increasing the sodium hydroxide content, before the fact of the break-in was determined by the security service.
Sodium hydroxide or lye is used to regulate the acidity of the water. However, in high concentrations, this substance can be very dangerous to humans. It is at these concentrations that it is found in many cleaning products.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in Florida, but the incident was a disturbing reminder that hackers are increasingly choosing strategic urban infrastructure for their attacks. An investigation is currently underway with the participation of the FBI and the secret services, and neighboring cities and towns have been warned of the danger of a similar threat.
This, alas, is not the first case of attempts to penetrate large water supply systems. Something similar happened in Illinois last November. Then the notorious "Russian hackers" fell under suspicion. Also last year, a cyberattack on the water supply had to be repelled by the Israeli special services, which blamed their "colleagues" from Iran for it.