31C3: Great talk on hacking physical/chemical processes

Eric | December 31, 2014

At 31C3, I really enjoyed the talk “Damn Vulnerable Chemical Process”. The talk explains in details what, as a hacker, one can actually do to harm (chemical) processes once one is in the system. Something that we new to me is that if you actually are able to create a DoS attack onto an industrial control switch (as shown here), this not necessarily allows you to DoS the entire plant, but rather allows you to control large parts of the chemical reaction that is taking place. The reason for this the fact that the control loops usually use asynchronous communication: if a controller stops receiving signals from a sensor, it will simply (and silently!) keep reusing the last data received. Carefully controlled by the attacker, this can easily cause havoc. Great talk! And great challenges…