Cyber-Attackers Targeting Web-Connected Fuel Tanks, Experiment Finds
A handful of attackers targeted fake fuel-tank monitors during a six-month month experiment, showing that real Internet-connected monitors are at risk, according to Trend Micro researchers.Attackers have begun targeting fuel-tank monitoring systems, which are known to be vulnerable to manipulation, researchers at security firm Trend Micro stated in a report released on Aug. 5. The researchers used custom-created honeypot programs to emulate a common fuel-tank monitoring device used to monitor the gasoline levels at gas stations and found dozens of attempts to access the six systems deployed in different locations across the globe, including the United States, Germany, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The experiment, dubbed GasPot, aimed to explore attackers' interest in noncritical industrial control systems (ICS), Kyle Wilhoit, senior threat researcher at Trend Micro, told eWEEK. "This research is not about showing that these pumps are going to blow up, but that there are vulnerabilities in the ICS world," he said. "These devices should never be [connected to] the Internet."
Like many other devices linked to the Internet of things, automated gas-pump monitoring systems pose a risk because many do not have security built into their design or have been improperly configured. In January, an oil-and-gas technology consultant and researchers from security firm Rapid7 found that more than 5,300 monitoring devices were directly connected to the Internet and could be accessed by attackers. An attack on the devices could be used to report false fuel readings or fake a leak in a gas tank.