Friday, 18 November 2011

How malware can explode an engine

An engine exploding due
to unauthorised programming
The following is an excellent video that demonstrates the potential impact of a cyber attack against 'real' systems, as opposed to hacking into computers and stealing data.

What makes this four year-old video particularly interesting is that is clearly shows how accessing computer systems with malice can compromise safety, productivity and preconceptions about what 'computer hacking' can achieve in the modern world.

When you read stories about hacking prison doors, aeroplanes and other Hollywood-style exploits, bear in mind what you are about to see. It is essentially the same thing.

Catch phrases that are relevant to this and other stories include SCADA and PLC. All you really need to know about these is that they refer to computer-controlled, automated physical systems.

This means systems that are controlled by computers and are able to do physical jobs like un/lock prison doors, control aircraft engines and moderate the speed of nuclear refinement equipment.

The first time I encountered this footage was in an F-Secure video that covered the Stuxnet worm. This is definitely worth watching in its own right. But if you just want to see how changing some computer code can blow stuff up, click on the video below...