Hackers shut down plant by targeting its safety system

Hackers have already attacked critical infrastructure, but now they’re launching campaigns that could have dire consequences. FireEye reported that a plant of an unmentioned nature and location (other firms believe it’s in the Middle East) was forced to shut down after a hack targeted its industrial safety system — it’s the first known instance of a breach like this taking place. While the digital assault was clearly serious in and of itself, there are hints that it could have been much worse.

The malware, nicknamed Triton, hijacked a workstation using Schneider Electric’s Triconex safety technology (typically used in power plants). The culprits hoped to modify controllers that could pinpoint safety problems, but some of those controllers entered a failsafe state in response and shut down the plant, leading operators to conduct the investigation that caught the hostile code. Triton was otherwise fairly sophisticated. It would try to recover failed controllers to avoid raising alerts, and would even overwrite its own programs with junk data if it couldn’t salvage a controller inside of a given time window.

The hack wasn’t made possible by a flaw in Triconex itself, FireEye noted. Instead, it appeared to be an “isolated incident.”

While it’s not certain who’s responsible, FireEye said the hack was “consistent” with a “nation state” readying an attack. And that’s concerning, especially if the perpetrators learn from their mistakes. While shutting down a power plant would be bad enough, it’d be worse if the malware could fool a safety system into allowing attacks that would damage the facility and lead to a long-term shutdown or an environmental disaster. In short, companies and governments alike may have no choice but to prioritize defending critical infrastructure if they want to avoid crippling attacks.

Rinspeed’s concept EV puts swappable pods on a ‘skateboard’

Ah, so Rinspeed basically reinvented the exact same concept as the GM chassis that I saw back at the Detroit Auto Show back in… 2002 or 2003 I think?GM even called the platform the Skateboard and it had modular bodies to snap on depending on your needs (sports car, minivan, utility truck, etc.) The only difference was that I believe the GM concept was banking on fuel cell technology and infrastructure. They ended up cannibalizing the platform and developing the Hy-Wire platform instead (basis for the Volt).

The true extent of Russian meddling in Brexit remains murky

What an interesting time to be alive with regards to politics. If you want to utterly destroy your political opponent, or really anyone you don’t like for that matter, simply find someone to accuse them of sexual assault. As we all know, due process is a hindrance to justice. If you don’t like the outcome of an election, simply introduce the notion that it was illegitimate due to the meddling of a foreign agent on social media. Actual proof of such meddling be damned.

Pentagon funded UFO identification program for 5 years

UFO sightings seem to have greatly disappeared over the last few years, either they found us uninteresting and left or infiltrated our news sources and governments to suppress any knowledge of their existences…

Firefox faces backlash for auto-installing ‘Mr. Robot’ add-on

This is really really stupid. Like REALLY stupid. There’s possibly nothing that Mozilla that could have done that would have been more damaging to their reputation. Even auto-installing actual malware wouldn’t be worse (although certainly not better) because they just demonstrated not only the ability, but also their willingness to betray their users’ trust.Good job, Mozilla. You were winning back the hearts of nerds with your new Quantum engine in Firefox, but that effort is probably all scattered to the winds now.

CDC barred from using terms like ‘science-based’ in budget docs

This is pretty ridiculous… vulnerable = susceptiblefetus = embryoevidence-based = evidence-rootedscience-based = science-groundedYou can go around it but it feels ridiculous and reminds me of 1984 where they banned how things can be addressed.

The iMac Pro is fast, but who is it for?

Great write up as usual Dana. I just can’t wrap my head around who would spend $5000 on $2000 worth of hardware…but as you’ve pointed out I guess there is niche demand for this type of system running OSX.Yet, going the iMac-esque route for a professional product is so strange. Bringing back the G5-era chassis would undoubtedly be best for prosumers but then Apple can’t control the upgrade path (or lack thereof.)

After Math: When you come undone

Pai wasn’t joking. He described himself perfectly. A puppet FCC Chairman.

Researchers use sperm to deliver cancer drugs to tumors

In the future, women will say:I wouldn’t let your sperm treat my cancer if you were the last man on Earth!

YouTube took down FCC’s ‘Harlem Shake’ video for 7 hours

The DMCA was created for the sole purpose of vendettas. It’s purpose was to take out artists who went self-published instead of continuing with the studio. Since DMCA by nature requires that the one hosting the content validate the copyright instead of an actual agency. Most outlets can’t afford to do that and take down the content that is DMCA’d without question. So RIAA has used it plenty of times to attack self-published authors and they didn’t even need to provide proof that they owned the copyright because again, no one checks. Aka DMCA was a terrible law from the get-go.That said, it’s questionable if Ajit’s thing qualifies as fair use due to it not parodying it in-itself (a grey area) The courts will probably have to decide on this one.

Eve V review: The wisdom of the crowd mostly pays off

the bluetooth capability of the keyboard is a nice feature that i’ve been hoping for with every new surface pro release. i’ve been in a few situations with my sp3 where this would have been killer to have.

Smart display button puts GIFs on your shirt

I have some really great waterfront property in the Everglades I think you should consider buying. It will fit in perfectly with your investment plan. Let’s talk.

Google Inbox will remind you to unsubscribe from unread promo emails

Popped up on my iOS device this morning for a promo email that I hadn’t read in 30 days so no, not limited to Android …

Bitcoin is failing as a currency

I thought, here we go again, another article about the doom and gloom of bitcoin but instead, I was pleasantly surprised by this article. Very informative and a great read! Thank you and … time to go buy some more bitcoin 🙂

The FCC’s ‘Harlem Shake’ video may violate copyright law

Well, he doesn’t seem to care about anything else so why would he care about copyright?