Monday, November 21, 2011

Who's protecting YOUR water?

This should really make us all wake up: Someone from Russia (it could have been the government or a private interest, we don't know yet) was able to remotely shut off then back on a second later a pump in Springfield, the capital of the state of Illinois -- and in so doing destroyed it.    While the other pumps kicked in for backup and there was never any real danger that the water in that city would become non-potable, the question is:  What was protecting the system?

According to the US Department of Homeland Security:   A three digit password.   That's it.   Presuming each character was one of the 256 possible in ASCII, there would be 256^3 possibilities, or 16,777,216.   A simple P3 250 MHz processor (like, over 10 years old), could crack the code in less than 0.07 seconds just by running through the possibilities one at a time.

Even in the age of the Tea Party, there is general agreement that there should be a basic standard for safe drinking water -- and that it needs to be protected at all costs necessary.   Does this make you feel safe?   We spend billions fighting wars overseas to no discernible end and yet we can't make ourselves safe from the interconnections that could threaten us.     Red China threw out the lights in Rio de Janeiro some time ago -- purposely.   If Russia or China were to do the same to us, should that not be considered an act of war?

Water should be no different.    We need to draw the line and say our water is ours and we mean to protect it.

A three digit password ... really.    Like we protect our treatment plants any more securely.   Isn't there a case to be made that some of our most important infrastructure should be completely off line permanently so they can't be hacked?

No comments: