Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is quickly becoming the norm in the water industry, allowing operators to monitor and manage plants remotely, and saving countless utilities both time and finances. But as all users of the Internet know, the Internet is not always a secure place.
And Adam Flanagan, of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, United States (U.S.) just showed why. The former radio frequency engineer was recently sentenced to prison for a year and a day for hacking into water meters of municipal utility systems spanning the East Coast of the U.S. in order to fiddle with data his former employer used.
Flanagan, who had been laid off his former company, was sentenced on two counts of unauthorised access to a protected computer and recklessly causing damage, according to Metro, a newspaper based in the U.S.
As the company produces remote meter readers for utility systems, upon his dismissal, Flanagan accessed the readers through the Internet, and used his extensive knowledge to meddle with the systems, disabling them and leading to erroneous billing data that his former employer spent “a large amount of time” investigating.
However, as Flanagan interfered with municipal water systems and tampered with the computers used to run said systems, regarded as critical infrastructure under the law, he was sentenced under enhanced guidelines.