Critical Infrastructure Systems Seen as Vulnerable to Attack

The vast majority of targeted computer attacks now start with a malicious e-mail sent to a company employee. Now evidence suggests that the same technique could be used to attack watersheds, power grids, oil refineries and nuclear plants.Attackers increasingly use so-called spearphishing attacks, in which they send employees targeted e-mails — often from an e-mail address that matches the name of a colleague, supervisor or chief executive — that contains malicious code. One click is all it takes for an attacker to steal an employee’s administrative passwords, turn their machine into a recording device, and see everything they do. see:Critical infrastructure vulnerable to simple cyber-attacks
Spearphishing — the technique by which hackers gain access to computer networks through sending misleading, malicious emails which users click on — is a risk to more than just small computer networks. According to the New York Times’ “Bits” blog, critical infrastructure like “watersheds, power grids, oil refineries and nuclear plants” are vulnerable to spearphishing attacks.”Spearphishing is so easy to deploy and effective that 91 percent of targeted attacks start with malicious e-mails, according to TrendMicro, a computer security firm with headquarters in Tokyo. But that same method could be used to harm utilities, power plants, gas pipelines and watersheds,” wrote Nicole Perlroth.

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