SINCE THE NSA’S infamous Stuxnet malware started exploding Iranian centrifuges, hacker attacks that disrupt big, physical systems have moved out of the realm of Die Hard sequels and into reality. As those attacks evolve, the cybersecurity community has started to move beyond the question of whether hacks can impact physical infrastructure, to the more chilling question of exactly what those attacks might accomplish. Judging by one proof-of-concept demonstration, those attacks could come in more insidious and unexpected forms than defenders expect.In a talk at the Black Hat security conference Thursday, Honeywell security researcher Marina Krotofil showed one example of an attack on industrial systems meant to drive home just how surreptitious the hacking of so-called cyberphysical systems—physical systems that can be manipulated by digital means—might be. With a laptop connected to a $50,000, 610-pound industrial pump, she showed how a hacker could leverage a hidden, highly destructive weapon on that massive machine: bubbles.
How Hackers Can Use ‘Evil Bubbles’ to Destroy Industrial Pumps