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A water treatment plant in Florida was breached and hackers tried to poison the water supply

Thankfully, someone caught the breach early.

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Image: Tech Everywhere

If you needed something new to worry about, then just know that hackers can apparently hack into water treatment plants. This is something I never thought about, but thankfully a worker at a water treatment plant in Florida was on high-alert when they noticed that a computer had been remotely accessed.

According to a press conference from Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, and reported on by Reuters, one or more hackers managed to break into a system that controls the City of Oldsmar’s water treatment system. After the breach, hackers then attempted to raise the levels of sodium hydroxide in the water.

They attempted to raise it from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. Sodium hydroxide is more commonly referred to as lye and can be harmful, if not deadly if ingested in large amounts. In small amounts, lye is used to help keep pipes clean by raising the pH level.

Thankfully, the hack was caught before any damage could be done.

According to Reuters, Sheriff Gualtieri notes that the breach happened through TeamViewer, a piece of software that allows developers, managers, and others to remotely access a computer. The hackers somehow breached the password and gained access.

At this treatment plant in Florida, Oldsmar Mayor Eric Seidel has noted that simply raising the levels from this one computer wouldn’t have been enough to push such a drastic change, but just the fact that hackers attempted such a thing is concerning enough.

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