cyber-physical

Datakinesis? IoT Makes The Threat Real

In-brief: The Internet of Things will make “datakinesis” – the impact of data attacks on the physical world – common, says Cisco’s Marc Blackmer. 

In Cyberwar, US Grid is a Prime Target | CSMonitor.com

The Christian Science Monitor is running a story I wrote this week on the security of the electric grid. In the piece, I take a look at whether the electric industry is soft-pedaling cyber risk. From the piece: “For all the huffing and puffing in Washington D.C. policy circles about the hack of Sony Pictures being an act of “cyber war,” for security experts who have been working within the power sector, however, the dire warnings are not news. They would not have been news last year, or the year before. In fact, (NSA Chief Mike) Rogers’ dim assessment of the US power sector’s readiness to face and withstand a cyberattack has been shared and articulated within the power industry for seven years. “Why is it that the US power grid in 2014 is not better prepared to keep nation-state hackers at bay, or to withstand a critical cyberattack? Some of the […]

Cyberattack Inflicts Massive Damage on German Steel Factory

  A report released this week from Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security said that a German steel manufacturing plant was severely damaged by a cyber-physical attack this year. The incident was mentioned in an annual report by the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (or BSI), which provided a summary of cyber security issues and incidents affecting Germany. According to the report, a German steel manufacturing facility was the victim of a “targeted attack” that the report labeled an “APT” or “advanced persistent threat” style attack.  [Read more Security Ledger coverage of APT-style attacks.] The attackers used a sophisticated spear-phishing e-mail and social engineering to get access to the office network at the steelworks, the report claims. “From there, they worked successively to production networks.” The malicious code disrupted the function of control system components that led to a blast furnace not being able to be turned off in a regulated fashion. “The result (was) massive damage […]

Research Warns of Cyber-Physical Attacks Against Vessel Tracking System

Researchers at Trend Micro report that an analysis of a vessel tracking system that is mandated on most large sea vessels has found that it is vulnerable to a range of possible software- and radio-based attacks. The vulnerabilities could be exploited in ‘cyber-physical’ attacks against the Automated Identification System (AIS) that directed ships off course or confused officials by mis-reporting the actual location of vessels, the researchers found. Trend Micro researchers Marco Balduzzi and Kyle Wilhoit presented their research at the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) in New Orleans this month. AIS is a global system for tracking the movement of vessels. It is intended to supplement marine radar and relies on ship, land and satellite-based systems to exchange data on ships’ position, course and speed and is used for everything from collision avoidance to security, ship-to-ship communications and weather forecasting.  AIS is required to be deployed on all passenger vessels and on international-voyaging ships […]