Electrical supe charged with damaging California canal system

Electrical supe charged with damaging California canal system
Electrical supe charged with damaging California canal system

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By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
The Register
30th November 2007

A former employee for a federally-owned canal system in California was 
charged with installing software that damaged a computer used to divert 
water out of a local river.

Michael Keehn, of Willows, California, faces a maximum penalty of 10 
years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Federal court documents claim the 
former electrical supervisor with the Tehama Colusa Canal Authority 
"intentionally caused damage without authorization to a protected 

The TCCA operates two canals that move water out of the Sacramento River 
for using in irrigation and agriculture in Northern California. As part 
of its duties, the TCCA uses a supervisory control and data acquisition 
(SCADA) system to regulate the system.

Attempts to reach Keehn for comment were not successful. A report found 
here [1] quoted Keehn as saying "I'm sure I did something to cause it" 
but that he wasn't entirely sure. Keehn worked for the TCCA for more 
than 17 years before being fired on August 15, the date he is alleged to 
have installed the unauthorized software.

The security of SCADA systems has emerged as a sensitive issue in the 
post 9-11 world. In 2000, a disgruntled former employee for a water 
system in Australia used a SCADA system to spill raw sewage into 
waterways, hotel grounds and canals in the area, according to this 
article [2] from ComputerWorld. =C2=AE


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