Scada network, cyberattacks and nuclear powerplants
SCADA networks are old networks that were placed many years ago to control the electricity and other networks that are the backbone of our economy. At that time security was no issue at all because no one else had access and no one even know it even existed. But you know how it goes. Somebody somewhere has a great idea and finds a business model and it gets implemented before a cynical or security guy has something to say about it (the are just a pain in the ass for management....).
So these networks got connected to the internet. Management was modernized from one day to another. Welcome to the 21th century. They had modernized access and management sure, but they had access and management over a totally insecured and never tested network.
If that network was to count pigeons, who would care ? But these networks are controlling and managing power lines, water infrastructure and the rest.
Why would any hacker want to disrupt that ? Well, for one thing he may find it more fun than just changing the frontpage of some stupid site with an automated tool. And what about cybersoldiers and cyberwarstrategy ?
For the Belgians, remember there was one network that went down during the Y2K timeframe. It was the SCADA network for incident control in our nuclear powerplants. In the US it took a hacker 2 weeks to penetrate and more or less 'own' a nuclear powerplant network (hey iranians, why build one yourself, spare yourself the trouble and hack one in the US - joke). Luckily it was an exercise.
In our small country there is a website linked to nuclear business that has published on the web the total structure of its database behind the website. The strict Belgian cyberlaw has no formulae to be more precise and inform the authorities without risk. (maybe time to change this if there will ever be a new government....)