[ISN] Hackers threatened California power supply

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Sat Jun 09 2001 - 12:21:27 PDT

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    By The Associated Press
    Special to CNET News.com 
    June 9, 2001, 9:40 a.m. PT 
    LOS ANGELES--At the height of the California energy crisis, a key
    computer system involved in moving electricity throughout the state
    was targeted by hackers, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
    The limited success of the hackers exposed security weaknesses in the
    system used by the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which
    oversees most of the state's electricity transmission grid, the report
    Officials said the problems have been corrected and there was no
    threat to the grid, even though the hackers came close to accessing
    critical parts of the system and could have disrupted the movement of
    The report cited an internal agency report showing the attack began as
    early as April 25 and wasn't detected until May 11. ISO officials said
    rolling blackouts May 7 and 8 were not connected to the hacking, and
    the FBI is investigating.
    The report said the main offensive was routed through China Telecom
    from someone in Guangdong province in China. Hackers also apparently
    entered the system using Internet servers in Santa Clara, Calif., and
    Tulsa, Okla.
    "You don't know where people are really from," said James Sample, a
    computer security specialist at ISO. "The only reason China stuck out
    is because of the recent political agenda China had with the U.S. An
    ambitious U.S. hacker could have posed as a Chinese hacker."
    The breach occurred amid increased tensions following the collision of
    a Chinese military jet and a U.S. spy plane. Following the incident,
    there were dozens of publicly reported computer attacks apparently
    originating from China. Most were minor.
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