Hacker attempted to poison water supply of Florida city

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

On friday afternoon somebody tempered with the drinking water in the city of oldsmar florida Before the water leaves the oldsmar treatment facility. They've got a town water treatment facility before it leaves their inflows into people's taps certain chemicals and additives get added to drinking water to make it safe for people to drink and at one thirty pm on this past friday. An employee at the oldsmar water treatment. Plant notice that the cursor on his computer screen it started moving around on its own the cursor pulled up the control for chemical called sodium hydroxide. So i'm hydroxide is better known by the common name lie l. y. Lies used to help regulate the acidity of the drinking water. It's added to potable water and very small amounts to regulate the ph of the water but in high doses live course can be dangerous profoundly so it's the same chemical that used in liquid drain cleaners typically oldsmar ads lie into its water in the amount of one hundred parts per million or less but on friday morning that water treatment employees watched that phantom cursor move the controls in the water treatment software to increase the amount of li- added into old mars water from less than one hundred parts per million to over eleven thousand parts per million. It was obvious to this employee right away that his computer was being hacked he immediately took control of the machine Undid what the hacker had just done before the water could be significantly contaminated today the county sheriff announced that the water treatment facility on friday was unlawfully hacked. He said the fbi and the us secret service are now involved in an ongoing investigation as of now there are known suspects. It's unknown whether the hacker was located overseas or here in the united states city officials made it clear today that even if that water treatment employee hadn't been so attentive on friday and hadn't seen the hack happen in real time it's still would've taken at least a full day before that contaminated water hit people's taps they say there are other safeguards in place that would have detected the strong change the contamination of water way before then. So they're saying that this kind of attack on the city's water supply would have been caught some other way if it wasn't caught the way that it was which i guess is comforting in a sense but until you know more about this hack including how hard it was to pull off it really does raise all sorts of questions about how secure all of those safeguards really were. If you could hack the computer that added the lives of the water. Could you have hacked the alarms that are supposed to alert people that the ph is wrong in the water as it's getting to people's taps an attack on our critical infrastructure on our electricity on our hospitals and the water we drink. That is the nightmare scenario for cyber warfare leading leaving the conceptual realm that most of us don't get into the terrorism realm that a lot of us think about all the time. That nightmare has never been fully realized in this country but in oldsmar florida on friday we got one big step closer nicole. Pro roth is a cybersecurity reporter for the new york times. she's really really good. She has reported on critical infrastructure attacks. All over the world This is what she had to say tonight. After hearing the news out of oldsmar she says quote. I always put water treatment plants. I in my stories in my lineup of remotely hackel infrastructure. Because this is the attack scenario that freaked me out the most to date. These attacks have been near misses yet. We continue to see determined hackers poking and probing these systems warned of cyber pearl harbor bombs but water. Contamination is a silent though no less deadly

Coming up next