recommended reading

DHS warns of password-cracker targeting industrial networks

Sergey Nivens/

The Homeland Security Department is alerting key businesses to a new hacking technique that guesses the passwords of technology that controls power generation and other complex industrial processes.

The attack kit targets Siemens S7 programmable logic controllers -- the same machinery pursued by Stuxnet, a worm discovered in 2010 that disrupted Iranian nuclear production machinery.

A research team publicized the “brute-force password tool” at a security conference, before coordinating with Homeland Security or Siemens, according to DHS’ Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team.

The website of SCADAStrangeLove describes the organization as “a group of security researchers focused on ICS/SCADA security to save Humanity from industrial disaster and to keep Purity Of Essence.”

Affected companies should make sure control system devices are not accessible through the Internet, and should partition those systems from the business network, as well.

Security consultants recently concluded that there are about 7,200 Internet-facing critical infrastructure devices, many of which use default passwords.

“ICS-CERT has notified the affected vendor of the report and has asked the vendor to confirm the attack vector and identify mitigations,” states a DHS alert. “ICS-CERT is issuing this alert to provide early notice of the report.”

The password cracker apparently can “narrow down and expose the credentials” by analyzing captured network traffic, DHS officials stated. It is possible the same code “may be modified to be used against other vendor products,” officials added.

(Image via Sergey Nivens/

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen laptop

3.7M Hong Kong Voters' Personal Data Stolen

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.