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Researchers find federal prisons vulnerable to Stuxnet-like hacking

Researchers find federal prisons vulnerable to Stuxnet-like hacking


An ex-CIA operations officer led a team that found prison security systems are vulnerable to a Stuxnet-like attack which can control cell doors and shut down CCTV systems.

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Industrial control systems like those targeted by Stuxnet are actually used in many places, including our federal prisons. As a result, a research team recently found the security systems could be hacked to open cell doors, overload and freeze them, or even shut down the CCTV. Although the prison's SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems shouldn't have internet access, they are often thoughtlessly connected to allow software updates or email access, and that oversight allowed former CIA operations officer John Strauchs's team to put together the hack in a basement for less than $2,500. The research was presented to the CIA before going public and independently confirmed by the Department of Homeland Security. Needless to say, the Federal Bureau of Prisons is taking the issue very seriously. Luckily, a fairly effective fix is immediately available: unplug the internet.