Department of Homeland Security Denies Illinois Water Pump Hack

The US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have denied that a pump in an Illinois water plant was damaged due to a cyber attack.

Cyber expert Joe Weiss had first discovered and published a report on a cyber attack on a US water utility in the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center Daily Intelligence Notes published on November 10.

In the report, he pointed out that the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) of the water utility was hacked, with evidence revealing that the SCADA system was repeatedly turned on and off, causing the water pump to burn out. According to the report, the hacker had stolen usernames and passwords from a SCADA vendor to gain access to the system.

The hacker who claimed responsibility for the attack, pr0f, uploaded the screenshots of a SCADA system of a water utility in Texas, to prove that he had hacked the system.

However, the DHS and FBI have denied that the water pump had been damaged due to the cyber attack. The two agencies are also investigating the claims made by the hacker.

"After detailed analysis, DHS and the FBI have found no evidence of a cyber intrusion into the SCADA system of the Curran-Gardner Public Water District in Springfield, Illinois," DHS spokesman Chris Ortman said in a statement to c|net.

"There is no evidence to support claims made in initial reports--which were based on raw, unconfirmed data and subsequently leaked to the media--that any credentials were stolen, or that the vendor was involved in any malicious activity that led to a pump failure at the water plant," they said.