Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Malware shuts down border control

A computer virus is being blamed for causing havoc at two Turkish airports late last week.

A malware attack reportedly disabled the border control computers at Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen airports.

According to a Google translation of a report on Star Gundem's website, huge delays in crossing the border were due to a failure in the "İstanbul Police Department Polnet'teki information system".

There is no mention of what security measures, such as anti-virus software, were in place to prevent a malware infection. Nor indeed do we know what operating systems are involved.

The Register provides a little more information and notes that, "PolNet is the Computer Network and Information System of the Turkish National Police". A link to the TNP's website provides more information:
PolNet is the Computer Network and Information System of Turkish National Police. Turkish Police network connects over 3000 locations each other, which constitute 81 provincial police departments, 100 border gates and other small units. Using a developed technology, it also enables police officers in the field to access national databases via a police network.
Polnet  is...
…a common database enabling information automation and providing a rapid and an uninterrupted access from all around the country.
 …a secure data sharing environment for correspondence and exchange of information.
… the infra-structure of computer technology and information system of Turkish National Police (TNP).
This event, if caused by a hacker or malware attack, is reminiscent of a distopian William Gibson novel. Whether intentional or not, computer failures caused by criminals or other miscreants are no longer the fantasy of science fiction or cyber punk authors.

In the past few years we've seen malware attacks that have affected hospital equipment, traffic lights and an ambulance control system. We've also learned of possible attacks on electricity supplies, aeroplanes and jail cell control systems. Read more...