Hackers Wreak Havoc on German Steel Mill

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    Doing physical damage with virtual attacks

    Hackers aren’t only after corporate secrets, customer data, and credit card numbers. Some attackers seek to create real, physical damage via the net as well. Take this report, from a BBC News article:

    A blast furnace at a German steel mill suffered “massive damage” following a cyber attack on the plant’s network, says a report.

    Details of the incident emerged in the annual report of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

    It said attackers used booby-trapped emails to steal logins that gave them access to the mill’s control systems.

    This led to parts of the plant failing and meant a blast furnace could not be shut down as normal.

    The unscheduled shutdown of the furnace caused the damage, said the report.

    The attackers reportedly used targeted “phishing” emails, as well as some smooth talking, to gain access to the steel plant’s systems, after which they were able to cause what appears to be purposeful damage.

    Is it corporate espionage, an enemy state, or simply cyber-vandals getting their kicks in a nasty way? At this point there’s no way to tell. What it should be, for all of us, is a giant red warning flag.

    Regardless of what type of organization you have, the reality is that you will be hacked at some point. Prepare now, including regular training for all employees on how to avoid and react, and make your crisis management capabilities that much stronger for when the time comes.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]

    – See more at: https://management.org/blogs/crisis-management/2014/12/27/backlash-over-facebooks-year-in-review/#sthash.nRYDWq3r.dpuf