Feds investigating possible cyber attack in failed Springfield, IL, water pump

Bryan Alaspa's picture

Last week a water pump failed in the Illinois capital city of Springfield and now the FBI is involved, trying to find out if it might have been a cyber attack that caused it.

The incident happened at a public water district last week. The statement that it might have been a cyber attack comes from a noted cyber security expert named Joe Weiss. However, the Feds are saying that it is too early to jump to conclusions and even dispute some of the claims made on Weiss’ website.

The story has been reported in the Chicago Tribune, and states that Weiss disclosed the possibility of a cyber attack was revealed on Weiss’ blog on Thursday. Weiss claimed he had come into possession of a federal report entitled “Public Water District Cyber Intrusion.” He claimed that within the report were the details of the attack against the Springfield water pump.

In the blog article Weiss did not name the state or region where this attack allegedly took place. He did state that the report was marked as for official use only. Meanwhile, a statement from the Department of Homeland Security says that the water pump was located in Springfield.

Weiss’ statements on his blog indicate that several workers at the water pump indicated that they had found glitches or problems with the cyber security at the plant. Back in early November one worker reportedly noticed that various systems were not operating properly, making several wonder if the system had been hacked. Weiss said that a hackers may have been able to gain access to the pump using security codes and passwords stolen by a control system vendor.

However, the federal agencies who are now investigating the incident say that they have no solid evidence that it was a cyber attack. Right now the reason for the failure of the water pump is unknown. The FBI says that they are questioning people and still gathering facts about the incident.

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