Virus Infection on Factory Control Systems Brings Down Operations

The Ministry of Economics, which conducted a recent investigation, found ten-or-more control systems that handled the manufacturing process at automobile as well as chemical factories contracting a PC-viral infection by March last year (2011), thus compelling the suspension of a few of the plants temporarily, reported Daily Yamiuri Online on January 23, 2012.

Actually, during the end-month of 2008, a virus infected the PCs within the production chain of motorcar manufacturers. Further, during 2009 and 2011, 330 enterprises some being manufacturers were surveyed for cyber-attacks under a poll project by the ministry.

Additionally, because of virus assault, the petrochemical factory could not use its computer systems. Consequently, operations there had to be shutdown for nearly a month. The factory was forced to close over 1,000 CPUs so it could examine the infection following the detection of a virus. As a result, its production got severely affected, sources pointed out.

Evidently, the virus contamination occurred on the PC-networks after the malware managed its entry into them via USB sticks that employees brought during their deployment or maintenance of computer terminals. As a result, the virus disseminated all over the factory's other computers. However, the infection possibly wasn't deliberate, explain security researchers.

And as there are more-and-more of cyber-assaults associated with the control terminals aiming at foreign countries, the ministry is planning for constructing one 'safety review' institution in the 2013 spring, state the specialists.

Meanwhile, the researchers indicate that virus infection on government control computers isn't unknown. During October 2011, 'Duqu" a globally known virus contaminated the control systems of an industry. According to Symantec, Duqu is particularly created for collecting data stored on factory control systems. The company said that in the instance discussed above, the attackers sought data like design documents with which they could orchestrate a future assault against certain industrial control plant.

Besides, during 2010, a virus struck the Bushehr nuclear facility in Iran. Further, as per the ministry of economics, the control terminal of an Australian watershed treatment facility too couldn't function properly for 3-months during 2000 when an erstwhile employee made an illegitimate access to the plant's computer.

Related article: Virus Infects Through USB Drives

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