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Hackers in Iran penetrated the control system of a New York dam two years ago

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December 22, 2015

It was revealed today that back in 2013, hackers in Iran successfully penetrated the online control system of a New York dam and poked around inside the system for a number of days.

The Wall Street Journal reports that attackers gained limited access to the dam through a cellular modem, according to an unclassified Homeland Security summary of the incident.

Two sources said that the summary refers to the Bowman Avenue Dam, a small facility twenty miles outside of New York.

It is said that the hackers didn’t take full control of the dam but did manage to probe inside the system, citing people familiar with the matter.

As is usually the case in such incidents, the Department of Homeland Security has declined to comment on the issue.

Intelligence agencies in the United States noticed the intrusion as they monitored computers they believed were linked to Iranian hackers targeting American firms, according to people familiar with the case.

The U.S. analysts detected a machine that was crawling the internet for vulnerable U.S. industrial-control systems. The hackers appeared to be focusing on certain internet addresses, according to the source.

On any given day, the U.S. has the highest number of industrial-control systems connected to the internet, with over 57,000 systems, according to researchers at Shodan.

Overall, an attack on a German industrial-controlled system occurred in December 2014, with hackers causing "serious damage" to a German steel mill and wrecking one of its blast furnaces.

The hack attack of the unnamed mill, detailed in the annual report of the German Federal Office of Information Security, was pulled off after a victim fell for a phishing email.

Source: The Wall Street Journal.

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