Hackers have successfully penetrated the computer system that controls a water treatment facility in Oldsmar, Florida, according to To report Published by the Tampa Bay Times.
By doing so, the hackers were able to remotely control the computer to change the chemical levels of the water supply, and increase the amount of NaOH before the moderator could detect the action in real time and revert the changes.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told a news conference Monday, Spread Later on YouTube: There has never been a significant negative impact on treated water, and the important thing is that the audience was never in danger.
Sodium hydroxide is used in water to regulate acidity levels, but excessive amounts of it can be dangerous to humans because it is the same inorganic compound used in corrosive household cleaners.
Although no one was injured, the incident is a disturbing example of hackers targeting public infrastructure with unclear intentions.
Pinellas County is currently investigating the breach along with the FBI and the Secret Service, and other nearby towns and cities have also been alerted about the potential threat.
It is noteworthy that this is not the first incident in which the water supply is targeted, as a water facility in Illinois was targeted by suspected Russian pirates in November of last year.
The Tampa Bay Times explains in its report the moment when the remote station operator noticed a fatal error when the mouse began to move across the screen without touching it.
The station operator was monitoring the system and noticed that someone had accessed it for a short time, and the operator said: He did not find this unusual, because his supervisor was regularly accessing the system remotely, but someone entered the system again on the same day.
The operator saw someone control the mouse, point it to the program controlling the water treatment, and stay in the program for between three and five minutes, and increased the amount of NaOH from 100 ppm to 11100 ppm.
The attacker then left the system, while the operator immediately changed the concentration to 100 ppm.
The province says that there are other preventive measures in place that have been able to prevent direct harm to the approximately 15,000 residents who depend on the Oldsmar drinking water plant.