|10 Nov 2011||#1|
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SCADA systems flaws exploited to open prison doors
The discovery of the Stuxnet worm has alerted governments around the world about the possibility of industrial control systems being targeted by hackers and has made a lot of security researchers concentrate on preemptively finding out bugs that plague them so that they can be patched before the attackers have the chance to exploit them.
These industrial control systems - more commonly dubbed SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) - are computer systems that monitor and control industrial and infrastructure processes, and often control heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, access, communication and energy consumption inside a variety of private and public facilities.
Among those facilities are also state and federal prisons in the U.S., and seeing that the control of access and communication within them is of critical importance, a group of researchers have set up to discover whether bugs in the SCADA systems allowed remote attackers to take them over.
With no previous experience regarding the programming of these systems, the researchers have relatively easily succeeded in their attempt and have developed attacks that would allow prison doors to be opened (temporarily or permanently) without alerting the guards in the control room about it and that would shut down internal communications and closed-circuit television systems.
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