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Security experts fear an industrial hack in the Middle East could hit elsewhere

A troubling cyberattack that hit a petrochemical company in August 2017 could be replicated around the world, including America.

Backstory: Last fall, it was revealed that malware called Triton was used to shut down operations at an industrial plant in the Middle East. It later emerged that the attack used all-new software to hijack critical safety systems. It’s still unclear who was behind the attack.

What’s new:  The New York Times says unnamed government officials and security experts believe the culprits “were sophisticated and had plenty of time and resources,” suggesting they “were most likely supported by a government.” The newspaper also claims the attack was meant to result in an explosion, but a flaw in the code stopped it from happening.

Why it matters: The attack hit industrial controller systems that are, according to the Times, used in “around 18,000 plants around the world, including nuclear and water treatment facilities, oil and gas refineries, and chemical plants.” Security expert James A. Lewis tells the newspaper that hackers could “deploy the same technique here in the United States.”

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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