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Understanding The Physical Damage Of Cyber Attacks

Whilst some software systems completely change the game in a positive way, other software can do a lot of costly damage to any organization, including physical damage. 

Though some of the damage may only affect the transfer of sensitive data from one unauthorized location to another, there are some security breaches that can disrupt an organization's CCTV system, or reach as far as leaving by a monumental amount of physical damage.

With that being said, it is essential that everyone is aware of commercial security and what it actually entails, as well as the importance of keeping it as tight as possible without the possibility of breaches. Cyber-attacks in particular can sabotage the control of major industrial security systems, or even cause property damage. With that being said, there is a lot that must be done to ensure physical damage from cyber-attacks is never underestimated. 

So, for those of you who have a role in protecting your organization from a security breach and the effects which might come with it, here are a few examples of what can be done at the hands of those who manage to get their hands on disrupting an organization. 

Hospital Ventilation System Tampered With  
In the year 2011, a hacker was sentenced to nine years in prison because of the cyber-attack that he caused in a hospital. With this incident of physical damage to a hospital system, this individual used the skills that he had to install malware. 

As a result of his action, the Hospital's HVAC's system was adversely altered causing the patient's safety to be unduly jeopardized. By remotely controlling the temperature in the hospital, it posed an immediate threat since it placed drugs and other medical supplies at risk. In this situation, the hacker was controlling both the air and heating systems in the hospital from a remote location. 

Hacker Compromised Turkish Oil Pipeline Leak Detection Systems 
Another serious incident that was reported back in 2008 involved hackers disabling computer systems temporarily. 

Even though no property damage actually occurred during these times, the potential risks and damage was more than enough to cause businesses, individuals and organizations all over to tighten up their security measures significantly. In fact, during this incident the people in the area of Southern California coastline were exposed to a devastating environmental disaster since an actual leak would have gone undetected. 
 
Teen in Poland Remotely Derails Trains
Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell how much risks that any area is exposed to today. Particularly, since a hacker does not have to be an adult to cause physical damage to a location and even injury to others. 

While this may sound a little surreal when recounting situations, severe physical damage can occur at any time if commercial security systems are not protected. In this case, a teenager from the area of Lodz in Poland decided that he would use a homemade transmitter to cause this physical damage. With this stunt, he was able to trip the rail switches remotely to redirect four trams. As a result of his actions, twelve people were injured. 
 
Meltdown at German Steel Plant 
In 2015, a German Steel Plant was adversely impacted by a cybersecurity attack that shut down parts of a plant. This disruption was caused by someone who hacked into one of their main computer systems to gain access to the workers logins. 

As a result of these actions, the plant was not only shut down for a period of time, but massive damage was done by a physical blast, due to a furnace that could not be shut down as it would have been normally. 
 
Raw Sewage Dumped by a Disgruntled Applicant  
Being disgruntled today can be taken to a completely new level when people have the ability to hack into an organization's system to do damage. 

In some cases, stealing sensitive data is not enough because the culprit may want to do more than simply disrupt an operation or the organization's credibility. Instead, the cyber-attacks that this group of intruders can create usually become a lot more inventive when they know what to do to express their disdain for not getting the job that they want.

For instance, back in the year 2001, a hacker in Australia was convicted of this type of cyber crime that affected a small town in which he lived. In fact, when he did not get the job that he wanted so badly, he took adverse actions by hacking into the town's computerized waste management system to the physical damage that he caused. 

Based on the information that was reported, he took deliberate actions to spill millions of gallons of raw sewage into the town's rivers and their parks. For this offense, this cyber attacker spent two years in prison for the actions that he had taken. 
 
Power Grid Sabotage in the Ukrainian 
Some cyber-attacks affect small towns, while others can affect large cities. In 2015, the ultimate did occur and it affected the blueprint of a power grid with the use of faulty firmware. Unfortunately, this action is not really unique since it can be duplicated again. 

Today, technology has a huge effect on our lives, both in business and personal situations. Since technology can control so much, the security measures used must be tight enough that they cannot be compromised without being discovered easily.

Because cyber-attacks are no longer confined to stealing just confidential information of a business, everyone must be prepared to prevent cyber-attacks that's meant to cause physical damage too. In order to avoid and eliminate the hideous possibilities, it is important that everyone's organization keeps their ear at the heart of cybersecurity. 

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