Wind power company sees no evidence of reported hack

An anonymous hacker claims he broke into a wind turbine system; the company that built it says no.

One day after a hacker posted screen shots and data to a hacking mailing list, saying he had broken into a New Mexico wind turbine facility, the company that runs the turbines says it has seen no evidence of a computer intrusion.

The hacker, who calls himself Bigr R, made the claims Saturday, posting screenshots of the facility's management interface, screenshots of an FTP server and project management system, as well as Web server info and configuration data from a Cisco router.

But NextEra Energy Resources, the company that manages the 200 megawatt Fort Sumner wind facility, says there's no evidence that it's been hacked. "We have investigated the claims of a potential computer hacking and found that the information provided as proof of hacking is largely publicly available information, which by itself would not be adequate to launch a successful attack against the named SCADA system or wind site," said Steve Stengel, a company spokesman. "We have not seen any evidence of a breach."

SCADA or supervisory control and data acquisition computer systems are used to manage industrial production at places such as factories, chemical companies and utilities.

Stengel did not say exactly what information that the hacker posted had previously been made public and what was not.

PNM, he New Mexico utility company that uses the plant's energy said Sunday that it knew of no incidents affecting the company's Fort Sumner facility.

In an email interview with the IDG News Service, Bigr R, said he was a former employee of NextEra's parent company, Florida Power & Light. He said he used a bug in the Cisco Security Device Manager software used by NextEra to break into the site. "They gave to it public IP, so it was easy to hack into it through the Web," he said. "They used default passwords, which I got from one of administrators. Then I obtained level 15 priv. (superuser), and understood the topology of SCADA networks. Then it was easily to detect SCADA and turn it off."

Security experts contacted Sunday said that it wasn't possible to tell whether Bigr R's claims were true. It's also not clear that he ever really worked for Florida Power & Light, said Wesley McGrew, an industrial systems security researcher with McGrew Security. "It's just really difficult to establish what's going on either way," he said.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitylegalNextEra Energy Resourceindustry verticalsenergycybercrime

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?