The Great Hack: Part Two- FORENSICS
Mark Pesce
211

This is chilling because it is so accurate. I’ve been involved in network architecture and security for almost 20 years now.

The engineered suxnet was designed with a specific goal in mind. It was successful beyond even the developers wildest dreams.

Unfortunately, once unleashed it didn’t take too long before it was modified by some truly bad guys who used it to infect 35 banks. The amount stolen was stupifyimg. It went on for over two years. Side effects were malicious. ATM machines associated with the attacks began randomly spitting out cash randomly. Other aspects of their networks were affected not to mention the detailed personal information of customers, who were further plagued for years.

What is even more alarming were two hacks unrelated to suxnet. In 2004, the East Coast of the US was hit with a blackout, from DC to the Canadian border. It was blamed on a freek accident. Supposedly a series of trees fell on a transfer station, thus causing cascading shut down ultimately blacking out the most populated areas of mid Atlantic and North Eastern US.

It is was 4 days before power was restored. The truth though was far more frightening. It was a sophisticated hack, in fact the first documented example of a cyber attack. Brilliant and elegant in the way it exploited weaknesses in our national grid.

To this day to my knowledge the truth and facts have never been made public not even acknowledged by the way Agencies who are supposed to be focused on strengthening the numerous weak points that were well known.

Another example was a coordinated hack, in fact an attack on a nuclear power plant outside Chicago.

The gateway machine was so vulnerable the average 13 year old could have done most of the specific exploits. In that case a Finnish security company had noticed some very unusual traffic. Over a period of 7 hours one individual took the lead and with his team thwarted the attempt to hijack a nuclear power plant.

Fir} For his efforts he was hounded for years by people from those in our agencies tasked with our National Security.

By 2007, most vehicles manufacturers began to increase not only the capabilities but also increased the number of vulnerable computing devices. The majority of vehicles had no security. A laptop, the right connectors allowed anyone not only to compromise the vehicles but actually gave direct access to the manufacturers. Not just a walled off network but access to most every area of these companies.

Thank you for your realistic compelling tale of a future horror that is almost inevitable and it will be more widespread.

Bravo.

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