In October 2001 an Australian man was sent to prison for two years for what was probably the first hacker generated cyber attack against civilian infrastructure in history. This event at Maroochy Shire, Queensland, is worth study for several reasons, including the fact that it proved this sort of attack was possible. It was, at least it should have been, a great wake-up call alerting us all to the cyber threat.
Here is reporting from The Register:
An Australian man was today sent to prison for two years after he was found guilty of hacking into the Maroochy Shire, Queensland computerised waste management system and caused millions of litres of raw sewage to spill out into local parks, rivers and even the grounds of a Hyatt Regency hotel.
“Marine life died, the creek water turned black and the stench was unbearable for residents,” said Janelle Bryant of the Australian Environmental Protection Agency.
The Maroochydore District Court heard that 49-year-old Vitek Boden had conducted a series of electronic attacks on the Maroochy Shire sewage control system after a job application he had made was rejected by the area’s Council. At the time he was employed by the company that had installed the system.
Boden made at least 46 attempts to take control of the sewage system during March and April 2000. On 23 April, the date of Boden’s last hacking attempt, police who pulled over his car found radio and computer equipment.
Later investigations found Boden’s laptop had been used at the time of the attacks and his hard drive contained software for accessing and controlling the sewage management system.