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Security Consultants warn that hackers can now destroy hardware

Global Secure Systems, the specialist IT security consultants and system integrators, has warned that hackers can now destroy hardware systems, as well as software.

David Hobson,Managing Director at GSS, said that a US government video of a power station generator, released to the media earlier this week, clearly shows what can happen when hackers take over control of a turbine system.

"The Department of Homeland Security video shows a mock-up of an industrial turbine taken over by hackers and destroyed by turning it into a heap of smoking metal," he said.

"This is what can happen to your company's hardware if a hacker gains access. We're not talking about a software crash - which is bad enough - we're talking about about real physical damage," he added.

Hobson's comments came after a video of power station hacker damage was released to the US media earlier this week.

The video shows a series of commands quietly triggered by simulated hackers having such a violent reaction that the enormous turbine shudders as pieces fly apart and it belches black-and-white smoke.

Hobson said that the video serves as a stark reminder of what can happen if hackers gain access to systems they should not have control over.

"I urge any company manager to view the Associated Press media report and reflect on what can happen if their IT security systems are not up to scratch, after all if this is what can be done to part of the critical national infrastructure which has significant defenses, imagine what damage could be done to the average business, with hackers immobilizing your production line or turning off the power supply to your building.

Managers do need to constantly review their IT security protection if they are to defend against hackers and malware attacks," he noted.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.