Usually, when you think of computer hacking, there are two scenarios that seem to be the most prevalent.
The usual denial of service (DDoS) attacks, where individuals bring down a website or server, and the more Hollywood-esque attacks (bank security, infrastructure, power-grid, transit, etc.). Basically, if you’ve ever seen Sneakers, you know what I’m talking about.
With these new attacks, it would seem Hollywood isn’t that far off. Recently, Telvent Canada, a Calgary-based supplier of public works control systems, was hacked. The attack demonstrates the finesse by which new attacks are being carried out.
According to CBC News, Telvent control systems are used for basically everything; including power grids, transit systems, municipal water systems, and oil and gas pipelines. The breadth of their market penetration is most likely what made them the target of the attack.
While those in the “know” are being fairly hush hush about what, if anything, was taken, the matter is serious enough to warrant the attention of the RCMP, military intelligence, and the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre. The company did admit the attack may have affected some customer files. The increased attention makes sense, as power-outages and oil spills are a lot more damaging than a DDoS attack that means you can’t visit a website or access your information.
Telvent are in full-on crisis management mode, and Internet security site Krebs on Security claim there is evidence the attacks come from China. While the results of the investigation are ongoing, it seems more and more, that real life is mirroring Hollywood.