Feeds

Feds quiz former worker over Texas power plant hack

Danger danger! High voltage!

Security for virtualized datacentres

A former employee at a Texas power utility was arrested late last week over accusations he crippled its energy forecast system after launching a hacking attack.

FBI agents made the arrest on Thursday after raiding the home of Dong Chul Shin, a former worker at Energy Future Holdings. EFH owns three Texas electricity generating outfits that run facilities including the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant. Dong was dismissed back in March over allegations he failed to pull his weight at work.

Hours after the no-notice sacking, Dong's VPN access account (which was left active) was allegedly used to log into the corporate intranet before modifying and deleting files. Proprietary company information was also transferred to a personal webmail account linked to Dong, investigators further allege.

Emails sent to engineers at the Comanche Peak nuclear reactor during this hack questioned the safety of the reactor if the load were to be "increased to 99.7 per cent of capacity". Dong's role included controlling the management of EFH power generation facilities, including the Comanche Peak reactor.

Dong faces accusations that the hacking attack he allegedly carried out created a threat to public health or safety. However, charges detailed so far only involve less serious charges that Dong's actions crippled an energy forecast system for a day back on 4 March, specifically an Excel file, leaving EFH unable to sell excess capacity and resulting in losses of $26,000.

This type of an attack wouldn't lead to an outage much less imperil plant safety, control system security expert Joe Weiss told Wired. "The people in Texas aren’t going to see their lights flicker as a result of this. This is an economic issue," Weiss said. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.