On February 5, an unidentified attacker hacked into the computer systems of a water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Florida, and tried to use them to increase the sodium hydroxide content in tap water to dangerous levels. This was announced on Monday, February 8, by County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
Last Friday, he said, the operator of the water treatment plant noticed that someone had remotely accessed a computer system “that controls the chemicals as well as the operations of the water treatment plant,” Bloomberg reports.
The sheriff noted that the first incident had no consequences, but a few hours later the break-in was repeated.
“One of the system options that the hacker gained access to is monitoring the sodium hydroxide content in the water. The hacker raised it from 100 parts per million to 11 thousand parts per million. Obviously, this is a large and potentially dangerous increase, ”Gualtieri stressed.
After that, the intruder logged out, and the operator was able to quickly reduce the content of the substance in the water to normal. According to the sheriff, there was no danger to the life and health of residents of the city.
As Gualtieri specified, it is not yet known which country the attacker was from. The circumstances of the incident are being investigated.
Earlier, on February 2, it was reported that alleged hackers from China had compromised the computers of the US National Financial Center using a vulnerability in SolarWinds software.