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Volume 30, Issue 1

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Wednesday, 06 August 2014 16:51

The Scary State of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure

Among the already scary global state of affairs, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure are also areas that have become increasingly tense. In July, The Economist ran a special section on cybersecurity, and one of the stories focused on critical infrastructure attacks. One passage explains perhaps the key issue driving the underlying threat to the world’s critical infrastructure, and it involves the way in which supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, which control network operations, have evolved:

Many of these were designed to work in obscurity on closed networks, so have only lightweight security defences. But utilities and other companies have been hooking them up to the web in order to improve efficiency. This has made them visible to search engines such as SHODAN, which trawls the internet looking for devices that have been connected to it. SHODAN was designed for security researchers, but a malicious hacker could use it to find a target.