Hackers whose intention was to kill the citizens by inducting poison into their drinking water consumption facility targeted a small town in Florida. However, the massacre was averted by timely reaction of the administrator of the water utility.
Going with the details, Oldsmar, a small town in FL consisting 14,000 people as populace, was hit by a cyber attack on February 5th of 2021. The supervisor who was in charge of the control systems noticed that some threat actors were remotely accessing the servers that were monitoring the PH levels and increased the burst of NaOH from 100 parts to 11,100 parts per million.
Security experts believe that they might have done so to increase the mix of LYE (Sodium Hydroxide) into the water that could have imbalanced the caustic alkaline chemical levels in the drinking water, thus changing the acidic nature of water and turning it into a non-consumable substance equivalent to poison.
An alarm was raised as soon as the operator learnt about the intention of hackers and reversed their malevolent operations through proper channel.
Cybersecurity Insiders learnt the hacker took control of the Industrial Control Systems (ICS) by first taking control of the TeamViewer software of an operator and then using his/her mouse to attack the system managing the Oldsmar water treatment facility.
FBI has been pressed into service to investigate the incident along with the local Pinellas County Sheriff’s office.
Who was involved in the attack and their intentions are yet to be known?
However, some unconfirmed sources say that the attack could have been a mischief of local hackers, unlike some speculations doing rounds in certain section of the media that it was the work of a US Adversary.