Mapping Industrial Hackers


Researchers set up a decoy computer and made it look as though it was controlling industrial activity. Then they waited for hacking attempts and mapped them.

The legacy Indramat controls we specialize in don’t lend themselves to this kind of hacking. They’re not online and not connected with other devices. There are pros and cons to this sort of old-school isolationism, but one of the pros is certainly the fact that they can’t be hacked remotely from all over the world.

The researchers found that the largest number of hackers by far came from (or appeared to come from) the U.S. About 6,000 of the attacks were from U.S. computers. Roughly 3,500 came from China and 2,500 from Russia, with fewer arriving from France and the Netherlands.

“Attacks” may be the wrong word. Researchers reported that most of the visits were “probes” — we might call it “casing the joint.” These kinds of visits don’t set off alarms, so they are used first to gather information. With that information in hand, hackers can come back to get their actual attacks done efficiently.

One of the problems with this type of research is that it is probably not accurate. Hackers try to mask their trails, and one of the ways to do that is to take over a computer and use it without being present. Computers at universities are popular targets for this kind of activity. Seeing lots of U.S. computer addresses may only mean that many global hackers go to the trouble to look like in they’re in the U.S.

Nonetheless, researchers believe that both military and industrial miscreants were involved in the attacks on the decoy.

Your Indramat components may not be subject to hacking, but they may still have problems. Let us help you whenever you need support for Indramat or Indradrive components.

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