By Iain Thomson
12 Jul 2007
Utility companies could be facing a hacking time bomb owing to poor
As more utilities move control and billing systems online an analyst has
warned that hackers are increasingly turning their attention to the
possibilities of controlling the systems.
While there is little direct financial benefit in breaking into such
systems, there may be other benefits.
"The utility companies are moving to completely digital systems and
security is not prioritised," said Fran Howarth, partner at analyst firm
Hurwitz & Associates.
"Hackers could siphon off electricity for use in projects like indoor
drug farms, for example, and charge it to consumers.
"The problem is that 80 to 90 per cent of the critical infrastructure is
in private hands and they have their own security problems, so consumers
are low down on the list."
Howarth warned that some critical infrastructure owners are even
neglecting physical security, particularly in the US.
The increase in political hacking means that companies that own sections
of critical infrastructure need to be aware of the need for greater
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