Hacks have been popping up all over the place recently. Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, various news organizations. And off-shore oil rigs aren't to be left out. According to the Houston Chronicle, more than one of the things have been "incapacitated" by malware that can be traced back to the Internet's most common vices: pirated music and porn.
The Chronicle relays reports from unnamed cybersecurity professionals that indicate there are plenty of cases in which these literal islands of Internet disconnection have been infected, "exposing gaps in security that could pose serious risks to people and the environment." Conventional Internet isn't readily available on rigs, but the malware still gets in, sometimes due to satellite downloads, or good old-fashioned USB-drive stashes.
Obviously malware is never a good thing, but experts seem to be worried about infection on rigs in particular as it could lead to something like "a well blowout, explosion, oil spill and lost human lives." And the whole situation is made worse due to the fact that many rigs, apparently, have little to no standards in place to keep malware at bay. One of the professionals described a situation in the gulf coast this way to the Chronicle: "They literally had a worm that was flooding their network, and they're out in the middle of the ocean."
So far there haven't been any real catastrophic events, and chances are the malware that's screwing stuff up is just nuance-grade, gumming up the works. But if something was to be directly targeted at the rigs, things could be much worse. Maybe it's time someone updated that anti-virus software; getting rid of the porn is out of the question. [Houston Chronicle via The Next Web]