“A computer virus attacked a turbine control system at a U.S. power company last fall when a technician unknowingly inserted an infected USB computer drive into the network, keeping a plant off line for three weeks, according to a report posted on a U.S. government website,” Jim Finkle reports for Reuters. “The Department of Homeland Security report did not identify the plant but said criminal software, which is used to conduct financial crimes such as identity theft, was behind the incident.”

“DHS reported the incident, which occurred in October, along with a second involving a more sophisticated virus, on its website as cyber experts gather at a high-profile security conference in Miami known as S4 to review emerging threats against power plants, water utilities and other parts of the critical infrastructure,” Finkle reports. “In addition to not identifying the plants, a DHS spokesman declined to say where they are located.”

Finkle reports, “Many critical infrastructure control systems run on Windows XP and Windows 2000, operating systems that were designed more than a decade ago. They have ‘auto run’ features enabled by default, which makes them an easy target for infection because malicious software loads as soon as a USB is plugged into the system unless operators change that setting, Justin W. Clarke, a security researcher with a firm known as Cylance that helps protect utilities against cyber attacks, said.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Blackwolf" for the heads up.]

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