A current criminal investigation into the hacking of the City of Oldsmar, FL water system is underway reports Sarah Wray of CitiesToday. The city’s water treatment plant was the victim of a cyber-incident on February 5, 2021, in which an intruder attempted to change the levels of sodium hydroxide in the water supply that provides drinking water to the city of Oldsmar. The levels of sodium hydroxide were attempted to be changed from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. “Sodium hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. The chemical is used at low concentrations to regulate the PH level of potable water but at high levels it is highly corrosive and damaging to human tissue” Wray writes.
The levels of the sodium hydroxide were not changed due to an operator at the treatment plant noticing that the levels were being raised. The operator quickly solved the issue and notified a supervisor of the incident. Wray writes that “the city’s computer system was remotely accessed at 8:00 am and 1:30 ppm by an unknown party.” Preliminary investigation by the Sheriff’s Office indicates that the unknown party gained remote access to the system using the TeamViewer software, which is used by the plant for monitoring and troubleshooting of the plant systems while off-site. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing and includes parties such as the FBI, the Secret Service, and the Sheriff’s Office Digital Forensics Unit. There are currently leads in this hacking case, but there are no confirmed suspects.
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