The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security are now saying that a water pump failure at a Springfield, Illinois water utility plant was not destroyed by hackers. This contradicts an earlier report on November 10 from the Illinois fusion center that claimed someone had hacked into the Supervisory  Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) and repeatedly turned a water pump on and off, resulting in the burnout of said pump.

To gain access, the attacker(s) obtained multiple usernames and passwords from SCADA that were used to access the water facility. The detailed report, which shows the IP addresses were traced to Russia, suggested that the hacker(s) could have had access to the system for a few months prior to the attack.

But now, the FBI and DHS say they have found no evidence of a cyber intrusion into the SCADA system at the Curran-Gardner Public Water District. In fact, they further elaborate and say there was no evidence to support the claim in the initial report. The raw and unconfirmed data was leaked to the media and should have never been made public.

Joe Weiss, a control system expert and the person that first reported the data from the fusion report, believes something doesn’t quite add up.

“This smells to high holy heaven, because when you look at the Illinois report, nowhere was the word preliminary ever used,” Weiss said. “It was just laying out facts. How do the facts all of a sudden all fall apart? There’s a lot of black and white stuff in that report. Either there is or there isn’t a Russian IP address in there. It’s hard to miss that. This stuff about the vendor being hacked… How can two government agencies be so at odds at what’s going on here? Did the fusion center screw up, or is the fusion center being thrown under the bus?”

As of writing, the investigation is ongoing and additional relevant information will be released at it becomes available. No other explanation has been provided thus far.

Photo courtesy Krzysztof Slusarczyk / Shutterstock