A water treatment plant is just one example of a piece of physical infrastructure that is vulnerable.
A water treatment plant is just one example of a piece of physical infrastructure that is vulnerable. Credit: Tomas Oneborg and David Magnusson / SvD / TT

IT flaws leave infrastructure vulnerable to attacks

6:52 min

A review has found more than 7,000 industrial IT systems or networks with security flaws that leave Swedish infrastructure vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The cyber slip-ups could allow hackers to take over or at least monitor devices, like pumps at a water treatment plant, or systems, like fire alarms in a building.

In more than 1,000 of these systems users didn't even need a password to commandeer it, Swedish Radio reports.

"What's so special about these systems is that they control often physical things which make our society work," Swedish Radio reporter Emil Hellerud says.

Hellerud says his reporting found, for instance, turbines at a wind farm that could be taken over remotely and forced to stop, causing expensive damage that would take a long time to repair.

Security experts tell Hellerud that greater awareness about the flaws can help fix them as well as thinking twice before connecting pieces of critical infrastructure to the internet.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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