Not so secure security systems - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Not so secure security systems

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We have warned you before about how it is possible for hackers to take over your phone, your computer, and maybe one day your car.  

Now, another threat to worry about, hackers could take control of the systems used to control prisons and essentially unlock the prison.  

We see the technology to remotely lock and secure things everywhere we go.  Special computers help us set our alarms on our homes when we're away.  Prisons use a more sophisticated technology, called supervisory control and data acquisition or SCADA systems.  SCADA protects our energy companies and keeps the bad guys locked in prison.   

THE CONCERN:

A research team demonstrated at the Hacker Halted conference they had found a vulnerability in SCADA to take over the systems used in prisons.

HOW IT WORKS:

The control systems within the prison, if connected to a network that eventually talks to the internet, that's where the hackers can squirm in.

Even if they are not connected, if someone manages to connect an infected thumb drive or install and infected file on the system, it could have the same effect.

The good guys demonstrated that they just needed that avenue and then sent an attack that would overload the computers and then allow them to open the doors at a prison.

This should be a wake up call for all organizations that use SCADA to inspect their systems and make sure they do not talk to the internet.  Even an innocent connection to the internet for email creates a weak point that can let the bad guys in!

WORD FOR THE WEEK:

Netizen:  A mashup of internet and citizen, you might be one of these if you spend most of your life on the internet between your smart phone, computer and tablet 

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