A hacker had accessed a water treatment plant in the San Francisco Bay Area in January and deleted programs that were used to treat drinking water, US media reported. In the most recent cyber attack on an American facility, the hacker logged on to the system on January 15 with the username and password of a former employee and changed the settings. The vulnerability was discovered the next day, and the California facility changed the protocols and reinstalled the programs.
ABC reported that the hacker, whose name and motives are still unknown, wanted to “poison” the water in the area near Silicon Valley, the global center for high technology and software innovation. She cited a “private report” produced in February by the regional intelligence center. The report did not identify the facility.
Michael Sena, the center’s executive director, confirmed the hacking incident but denied the allegation of an attempt to poison the facility, saying The San Francisco Chronicle, “Nobody tried to poison our water. That is not right.”
The hacker reportedly used the former employee’s TeamViewer account information to gain access to the water treatment plant’s system. TeamViewer enables one person to remotely access another person’s computer and other devices. The program has grown in popularity and is widely used by employees who work from home during the pandemic.
In February, a hacker tried to take control of another water treatment plant in. to take over Florida. In this incident, too, the hacker had access to a TeamViewer account linked to the system and managed to raise the lye content in the drinking water to toxic levels. An employee caught the mouse on a computer moving on its own and stopped a disaster.
Local officials said the hacker had access to the system for about three to five minutes.
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