The Bowman Avenue Dam was breached by Iranian cyber hackers, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. The intrusion on the control system of the New York City area dam reportedly sparked cyber warfare concerns at the White House. The hackers were reportedly able to garner access to the infrastructure by using a standard cellular modem.
The Bowman Avenue Dam breach occurred in 2013, but the report about the incident by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was not made public until now. FBI investigators reportedly quickly converged on the IT administrative offices at the dam to determine both the nature and extent of the breach. The Wall Street Journal broke the story earlier today and cited unclassified DHS documents as the source of their information about the cyber attack on an unspecific piece of infrastructure. The Bowman Avenue Dam spans Blind Brook and is just minutes away from New York City in the town of Rye.
— The Rye Daily Voice (@RyeDV) December 21, 2015
The NYC area dam cyber attack caused the Obama administration to become concerned about the age of industrial complex computers and their ability to deflect cyber warfare tactics. There are approximately 57,000 industrial control systems that connect to the internet to function. The United States is believed to have the largest number of online industrial-control systems in the world. Last December, cyber hackers infiltrated the industrial control system at a German steel mill and was able to cause “serious damage” to a blast furnace at the plant, the Register reports.
FBI agents reportedly had difficulty determining which dam the cyber hackers breached during the initial stages of their investigation. The federal agency first thought the cyber attack had targeted a significantly larger dam in Oregon. The incident occurred around the same time as cyber hackers reportedly linked to the Iranian government attacked bank websites in the United States, the Independent reports. The dam hack was reportedly noticed by federal intelligence officials who were already monitoring computers addresses in Iran believed to be linked to the bank website cyber attack attempts.
DHS representative S.Y. Lee would not confirm that the cyber attack on the Bowman Avenue Dam occurred. Lee did state that the cyber security information-sharing hub functions 24/7, and an emergency response team is tasked with coordinating vulnerabilities and threats to vital pieces of infrastructure in the United States.
— GadgetInfoNews (@GadgetInfoNews) December 21, 2015
The attack being blamed on Iranian cyber hackers has also spurred renewed concerns about power grid security and the potential for a cyber attack to take down the nation’s electrical system. Should the power grid go down, FEMA estimates that grocery store shelves will empty in just hours, and medical and 911 response by police, firefighters, and EMS could become non-existent once gasoline for emergency generators runs out.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the National Society of Civil Engineers (NSCE) graded infrastructure around the country, and the power grid barely got a passing grade. The NSCE gave the power grid a “D+” on its report card. The score means that the system is in “poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life.”
The recent claims of cyber warfare at the hands of Iranians have sparked renewed complaints and debate over the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons deal with the Middle Eastern government.
What do you think about claims that Iranian cyber hackers were able to gain access to the Bowman Avenue Dam?
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