“The global cyberwar is heating up and the stakes are no longer limited to the virtual world of computers.”
So says the voiceover talent, during a recent episode of “NOVA” on PBS. During the episode, real-world examples are provided to examine the science and technology behind today’s cyber warfare. Already, highly sophisticated, stealthy computer programs such as the notorious Stuxnet worm can take over the control systems that regulate food factories, pipelines, power plants, and chemical facilities—even our cars.
However, this blog isn’t written to put a scare into our readers; we just found it interesting that 23 minutes into the episode, a KNF air pump is used to pop a balloon! (episode available on PBS website via link below)
Liam O’Murchu, Sr. Development Manager at Symantec, demonstrates how a PLC—or programmable logic controller—can be used with malicious code to override an intended program command. The air pump, KNF model N 828, inflates a balloon for three seconds, and then stops, as directed by the PLC. However, if infected, the PLC can be used to drive the pump continuously, thus leading to the balloon being inflated until…POP!