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Thousands of SCADA Devices Discovered On the Open Internet 141

Trailrunner7 writes with news of the continuing poor state of security for industrial control systems. From the article: "Never underestimate what you can do with a healthy list of advanced operator search terms and a beer budget. That's mostly what comprises the arsenal of two critical infrastructure protection specialists who have spent close to nine months trying to paint a picture of the number of Internet-facing devices linked to critical infrastructure in the United States. It's not a pretty picture. The duo ... have with some help from the Department of Homeland Security (PDF) pared down an initial list of 500,000 devices to 7,200, many of which contain online login interfaces with little more than a default password standing between an attacker and potential havoc. DHS has done outreach to the affected asset owners, yet these tides turn slowly and progress has been slow in remedying many of those weaknesses. ...The pair found not only devices used for critical infrastructure such as energy, water and other utilities, but also SCADA devices for HVAC systems, building automation control systems, large mining trucks, traffic control systems, red-light cameras and even crematoriums."
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Thousands of SCADA Devices Discovered On the Open Internet

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  • Not a surprise. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2013 @05:23PM (#42551129)

    I have worked for a large world wide organisation where SCADA and similar on-line systems are very prominent. After raising concerns and asking ports to be locked down or default passords to be changed, there was a lot of departmental fighting over who's responsibility and usually after the battle royal of e-mails everyone would forget until the issue was brought up again.

    Too much of a not broke don't fix attitude in smaller companies and bureaucracy in larger companies over responsibility.

  • SCADA DooDah (Score:5, Informative)

    by rueger ( 210566 ) * on Thursday January 10, 2013 @08:30PM (#42553007) Homepage
    For those not overly up to date on their acronyms: "SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) is a type of industrial control system (ICS). Industrial control systems are computer controlled systems that monitor and control industrial processes that exist in the physical world. SCADA systems historically distinguish themselves from other ICS systems by being large scale processes that can include multiple sites, and large distances." []
  • Blame me (Score:5, Informative)

    by AB3A ( 192265 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @11:35PM (#42554419) Homepage Journal

    My name is Jake Brodsky. I worked with Bob Radvanovsky and others to create this experiment.

    The formal announcement of this project is here [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 11, 2013 @12:01AM (#42554557)

    I worked as a Controls Engineer for 6 years designing, installing, and commissioning PLC / SCADA systems. The clients were anything from large steel mills, manufacturing plants, government, and even propulsion systems for naval vessels. My company was contracted to install these systems and sometimes train the customer's personnel to then handle problems or make additions to the control system if necessary.

    The personnel were more often than not your normal plant electricians and if we were lucky an actual engineer, but usually not one with much IT ability. Today's controls systems almost always have a normal Ethernet network sometimes utilizing commercial OTS network switches. This is a big change from 10-15 years ago when the communication media was mostly proprietary for control networks.

    When a problem arose I've seen these guys just unplug and plug in CAT5E Cale's wildly in the hopes of rectifying a problem that brought a process line or machine to a hault without much thought as to where the issue lies. Other times the plant manager will want to view the SCADA data from his office so he will instruct an employee to just bridge the control network to the business / office network.

    It's really not the fault of the people designing the systems. In the end the company that owns it takes the blame. The vast majority of customers will not pay extra to have their employees trained on these systems and I've never seen one concerned with security. My company sent me to Certified Ethical Hacking training in order to try and make our systems more secure, but in the end the systems integrator's hands are tied.

DISCLAIMER: Use of this advanced computing technology does not imply an endorsement of Western industrial civilization.