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New Type of Cyberattack Targets Factory Safety Systems

222saudiarabiaHackers who attacked a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia last year gained control over a safety shut-off system that is critical in defending against catastrophic events, according to security researchers shedding light on what they describe as a new type of cyberattack.

Security firms first disclosed the attack last month, but now the company that makes the emergency shut-off system, Schneider Electric , has analyzed code used in the attack and determined its purpose.

The malicious software, dubbed Triton, was able to manipulate Schneider devices’ memory and run unauthorized programs on the system by leveraging a previously unknown bug, said Andrew Kling, a director of process automation cybersecurity with Schneider Electric.

“It gives the attacker the ability to control what a safety system will do in the event of an emergency,” Mr. Kling said. The company would not say how long the plant was compromised.

The 2017 attack represents a new phase in the increasingly worrisome attacks on control-system computers used to manage factory floors, chemical plants and utilities. Read article here