Security researchers have raised alarm over the increased ability of hackers to attack real-world stuff. According to the researchers, hacker attacks are no longer limited to the virtual world. They can successfully launch an attack on physical stuff we use every day.
Instead of targeting websites and such other virtue targets, now hackers have shifted focus to power grids, cars and prison security systems. Prison security camera systems are attractive targets because they have mini-computers within. And given that practically everything is a mini-computer, you can expect these attacks to increase exponentially in the next few years.
Stuxnet computer worm
The computer worm responsible for this scary turn of events is called Stuxnet. The worm is said to have been designed with the aim of attacking and blowing up Iran’s nuclear facilities. Instead, now the worm is threatening many businesses especially because it is said to have the ability to manipulate industrial systems.
By hacking a certain electronic component that most prison security systems use, a hacker could unlock prison doors and free prisoners at the comfort of his home.
Government security experts are particularly concerned and have begun to research the worm and what improvement can be made to prison security systems to make sure inmates do not find their way out of prison before the end of their prison sentence.
Siemens’ Programmable Logic Controller
The hack targets a networking component in Siemens systems referred to as Programmable Logic Controller. A successful hack of prison security systems could throw the prison system into mayhem.
A combination of the vulnerability of the Siemens systems and the faultiness of human behavior could easily lead to the worst prison security systems breach in history.
To deal with this and other emerging threats, persons in charge at prison facilities should make sure that the central computers from which all prison locks are controlled are never connected to the World Wide Web.
Water systems, power grids and cellular networks
Companies responsible for water systems and power grids should be extra careful and on the lookout going into the future. It is quite clear that hackers are trying to find vulnerabilities in these systems knowing that a single successful attack could bring a whole city into a stand still. Cellular networks should also review and upgrade their security systems to safeguard them from Stuxnet and other computer worms that will be developed to target the real world.