Feeds

(Former) IT consultant confesses to SCADA tampering

'Multiple user accounts'

Website security in corporate America

A former IT consultant for a California oil and gas company has admitted he intentionally tampered with its computer systems after he was turned down for a permanent position there.

Mario Azar of Upland, California pleaded guilty to one felony count of intentionally damaging a computer system used in interstate and foreign commerce, according to documents filed in federal court in Los Angeles. He was an IT consultant for Long Beach, California-based Pacific Energy Resources until around May 8, 2008, when he received his final paycheck.

Beginning on that date, Azar "knowingly caused the transmission of programs," codes, and commands that impaired the computer systems of the company, prosecutors said. Parts of those systems were used to remotely operate giant oil platforms from the company's offices. The systems were also used to detect gas leaks.

Such SCADA, or supervisory control and data acquisition, systems are frequently used to control sensitive equipment at dams, gasoline refineries and other large industrial sites. Security watchers have warned that they are vulnerable to disgruntled insiders or malicious hackers who figure out ways to exploit computer weaknesses.

Azar had set up parts of the Pacific Energy Resources computer system and had established multiple user accounts on it, according to court documents. They didn't make clear whether company administrators had deleted the accounts after the consultant left the company.

Sentencing in the case is scheduled for December 7. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.