Malware infects US power facilities through USB drives

ICS-CERT recommends power plants adopt new USB practices

Two U.S. power companies reported infections of malware during the past three months, with the bad software apparently brought in through tainted USB drives, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT).

In one case, the industrial control system at a power generation facility was infected with "common and sophisticated malware" apparently through an employee's USB drive, according to the ICS-CERT Monitor for October to December 2012.

The publication did not name the malware discovered. The tainted USB drive came in contact with a "handful of machines" at the power generation facility and investigators found sophisticated malware on two engineering workstations critical to the operation of the control environment, ICS-CERT said.

Investigators didn't find malware on 11 other workstations examined, ICS-CERT said.

ICS-CERT recommended that the power facility adopt new USB use guidelines, including the cleaning of a USB device before each use.

In the second incident, a power company contacted ICS-CERT in early October to report a virus infection in a turbine control system. About 10 computers were affected, ICS-CERT said.

An outside technician used a USB drive to upload software updates during equipment upgrades, ICS-CERT said. The malware delayed the plant's reopening by three weeks, the organization said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags energyindustry verticalsU.S. Department of Homeland SecurityExploits / vulnerabilitiesU.S. Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team

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

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?