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Security Flaws in PLCs Controlling Prison Locks, Doors Can Weaken Prison Cells

A standard alert pertaining to crucial systems in USA is that they're susceptible to cyber-assaults of the Stuxnet style. Close to this is a warning by security researchers that PLCs and SCADA systems expose prisons to potential assaults unleashed through computers. TheRegister published this on August 1, 2011.

Referring to the security flaws, which the Stuxnet worm exploited for destructing an Iranian nuclear plant's centrifuges, John Strauchs, security engineer and consultant says that a few of those same flaws exist inside prominent prisons that are highly secured across the country. Gizmodo published this on August 1, 2011.

Recently, according to a White Paper, when Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) manage cell-doors and other similarly-locked systems, it implies that the security flaws inside PLC-driven systems navigate into the prison cells too.

Notably, PLCs represent small-sized PCs, which with adequate programming can be used for controlling operations like rotors' spinning, doors opening up, or food getting dispensed during packaging on the automatically-moving assembly line.

Meanwhile, twin PLC models that Siemens the German conglomerate made became Stuxnet's target for attack. Stuxnet, discovered during 2010, is an advanced malware piece, which has been created for recording genuine instructions issued to PLCs as also substituting them by malware thereafter.

In such maneuvers, hackers only require having his malicious software loaded onto the regulating PC via tricking an insider for taking it down through a contaminated USB device alternatively, transmitting it through certain fraudulent, phishing assault targeting a jail-staffer, as certain control systems have an online connection too, notes Strauchs.

Additionally Strauchs says that the moment humans get hold of a PLC, anything's possible to do, from closing and opening doors to wholly damaging the system.

Indeed, following a consultative exercise over electronic systems within more than 100 prisons, police stations and courthouses across USA, Strauchs states that there's the utilization of PLCs inside the prisons for regulating locks on facility gates and doors, in particular, cells.

Conclusively, the White Paper states that incase attackers manage in injecting a Stuxnet-type virus inside the prison ambience, it maybe possible for them to open doors, stifle alarms, alternatively even sabotage mechanisms of relevant nature.

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