Washington Post reports a hacker managed to cause a pump failure at a water plant in Springfield, Illinois:
Foreign hackers caused a pump at an Illinois water plant to fail last week, according to a preliminary state report. Experts said the cyber-attack, if confirmed, would be the first known to have damaged one of the systems that supply Americans with water, electricity and other essentials of modern life.
Companies and government agencies that rely on the Internet have for years been routine targets of hackers, but most incidents have resulted from attempts to steal information or interrupt the functioning of Web sites. The incident in Springfield, Ill., would mark a departure because it apparently caused physical destruction.
An interesting addition can be found over at Slashdot. The hacker had an e-mail interview with Threatpost, in which he revealed that the water company used a password that was just three characters long!
The hacker, using the handle 'pr0f' took credit for a remote compromise of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. Communicating from an e-mail address tied to a Romanian domain, the hacker told Threatpost that he discovered the vulnerable system using a scanner that looks for the online fingerprints of SCADA systems. 'This was barely a hack. A child who knows how the HMI that comes with Simatic works could have accomplished this,' he wrote in an e-mail.