A town in Florida has been target of a hack which briefly altered chemicals in its water supply to “potentially damaging levels” according to local media reports. Federal and local authorities are currently investigating the computer network intrusion which happened last Friday morning, the alarming details of which are emerging Monday.
Plant operators overseeing the small city of Oldsmar’s water supply began observing strange activity on their monitors. That’s when technicians noticed that sodium hydroxide levels (or lye), which is used to treat the city’s water in small amounts in order to control acidity while removing heavy metals, was being remotely pushed higher.
Technicians noticed the chemical levels being subject of unauthorized external manipulation in real-time and immediately moved to restore the sodium hydroxide input to its safe, correct levels. The AP detailed based on local reporting: “A plant worker first noticed the unusual activity at around 8 a.m. Friday when someone briefly accessed the system.”
“At about 1:30 p.m., someone accessed it again, took control of the mouse, directed it to the software that controls water treatment and increased the amount of sodium hydroxide,“ the report continued.
The hacker or hackers have yet to be uncovered and apprehended. According to details announced by the county sheriff Bob Gualtieri and featured in Tampa Bay Times: