A new report reveals that Iranian hackers managed to infiltrate computers controlling the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye, NY in 2013. Despite the worrisome attack, no damage took place.
While the Iranian hackers were unable to cause any destruction, they were able to obtain information about how the computers controlling the flood control system functioned.
State-sponsored hackers often target computers of national infrastructure. In the past decade, there have been about 12 different instances of hackers gaining access to various power networks.
The investigation of the attack on the dam computers found that Iran was the most likely source. The United States has long been concerned with the significant cyber warfare capabilities of the Iranians. Additionally, the same Iranian hackers are also believed to have targeted three different American financial firms in separate attacks.
Investigators have said that these attacks were very sophisticated in nature. Most of these attacks seemed to operate with the goal of obtaining detailed information, such as engineering blueprints about networks and facilities.
One notable Iranian hacking campaign provided attackers with access to 82 different plants spread throughout the United States and Canada. Information about these attacks resulted in the FBI issuing a formal warning to the energy industry that it was being targeted by foreign hackers.
However, despite the sophisticated nature of the attacks, the hackers never used their obtained knowledge to shut down the power plants or change the way in which they operate. That being said, the knowledge could be used in the future to cause damage if the diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran were to become worse for any reason. As a result, the United States is not out of the woods just yet.
Many American power plants and institutions of infrastructure were established before there was a pressing need to protect them from remote hackers. Because of this, many of these infrastructures contain vulnerabilities that could one day be used against the country.