[LINK] Linux saves Aussie electrical grid

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Sat Oct 10 03:18:27 AEDT 2009



> QUICK THINKING open sourcerers might have saved an Australian power  
> supply system after its electrical grid control room network got  
> infected with a virus.
> A Windows virus hit the networks of Integral Energy and, according  
> to a submission to Slashdot, the virus managed to spread to the  
> operator display consoles in the control room.
> Quick thinking techies in the control systems department of the  
> utility swapped the infected Windows boxes for machines running  
> Linux that they were using for development.
> The move prevented the virus from taking over all the operator  
> displays in the control room.


> However in Oz there could be some concern that notoriously insecure  
> Windows machines were even being used for critical infrastructure  
> systems. The Slashdot submission says that the power grid's system  
> control and data acquisition (SCADA) servers run Solaris Unix and  
> the operator consoles only really need to run X-windows displays.  
> The question is why the utility would choose to run X on Windows  
> boxes merely to talk to the UNIX-based SCADA servers that control  
> the electrical grid.


> The virus was the W32.Virut.CF strain, which computer security  
> company Symantec describes on its website as "a particularly  
> sinister file infector".
> Oddly the signature to detect this virus has been around on virus  
> checkers since February and so it should have been spotted. It has  
> been speculated that Integral Energy might not have upgraded all of  
> its security software since January or earlier.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
Ph: +39 06 855 4294  M: +39 3494957443
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

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