from the need-firewalls-to-go-with-those-real-walls dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Some of the same vulnerabilities that the Stuxnet superworm used to sabotage centrifuges at a nuclear plant in Iran exist in the country's top high-security prisons where programmable logic controllers (PLCs) control locks on cells and other facility doors. Researchers have already written three exploits for PLC vulnerabilities they found. 'Most people don't know how a prison or jail is designed; that's why no one has ever paid attention to it,' says John Strauchs, who plans to discuss the issue and demonstrate an exploit against the systems at the DefCon hacker conference next week. 'How many people know they're built with the same kind of PLC used in centrifuges?' A hacker would need to get his malware onto the control computer either by getting a corrupt insider to install it via an infected USB stick or send it via a phishing attack aimed at a prison staffer, since some control systems are also connected to the internet, Strauchs claims. 'Bear in mind, a prison security electronic system has many parts beyond door control such as intercoms, lighting control, video surveillance, water and shower control, and so forth,' adds Strauchs. 'Once we take control of the PLC we can do anything (PDF). Not just open and close doors. We can absolutely destroy the system. We could blow out all the electronics.'"
"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts
most subtly on the human will."
-- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"