Feeds

Feds quiz former worker over Texas power plant hack

Danger danger! High voltage!

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.