Oak Ridge hit by cyber attack

An advanced persistent threat cyber attack forced Oak Ridge National Laboratory to shut down all Internet access and email systems.

04/26/2011


An advanced persistent threat cyber attack forced Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to shut down all Internet access and email systems over the weekend.

Those restrictions will remain until lab officials and others investigating the attack are sure everything is back to normal, said ORNL Director Thom Mason early this week.

Mason said he expects email functions may come back online on a limited basis, with no attachments allowed and restrictions on length.

“We made the decision (around midnight Friday last week) to close down the connection to the Internet to make sure there was no data exfiltrated from the lab while we got the system cleaned up,” he said.

The lab’s cyber specialists had been monitoring the attack and recommended further action after it looked like efforts were under way to remove data from ORNL systems, Mason said.

Mason said the APT threat at ORNL is similar to attacks in recent times on Google, security company RSA, and other government institutions and corporations.

“In this case, it was initiated with phishing email, which led to the download of some software that took advantage of a ‘zero day exploit,’ a vulnerability for which there is no patch yet issued,” he said. The vulnerability involved Internet Explorer, he said.

Mason said the lab has not, to this point, detected any large-scale exfiltration of data, and the decision to shut down Internet access was to prevent any information to exit the building or to eliminate anything similar to a 2007 cyber attack at ORNL in which thieves stole large amounts of data. Following that event, the lab sent 12,000 letters to former lab visitors, informing them a thief may have stolen their Social Security numbers (although there were no subsequent reports of identity thefts or major problems).

Mason said they confiscated and quarantined some computers. He also confirmed the phishing email messages came in looking as though they were from the lab’s human resource department.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
click me