Sources Claim Telvent Hacking Linked to Group in China

By Ed Silverstein September 28, 2012

There are reports that the recent hacking of a Canadian software maker was linked to a source in China. The Canadian government is not confirming the allegation, however, and China denies it.

Telvent, owned by France's Schneider Electric SA, affected the company’s system in the United States, Canada and Spain, according to The website also said its sources are blaming the attack on Chinese hackers.

Canadian officials, however, did not identify the source of the attack as China, Reuters said. The Chinese government denies it was involved in the hacking.

Telvent manufactures software used by energy companies to manage the production and distribution of electricity. Its technology is used for power grids and smart energy technology.

The hackers broke into Telvent’s network, installed malicious software and apparently took files, The Register reported. The attack may have affected some customer files, The Register added.

“Criminals can now study the documents for vulnerabilities in the systems, and potentially devise attacks to sabotage nations' electricity distribution networks,” The Register warned.

Telvent systems manage over 60 percent of the total hydrocarbon movements in North and Latin America, and controls transmission and distribution of over 140,000 GWh via electrical grids.

The Register says Dell SecureWorks alleges the “Comment Group” could be responsible for the hacking. The Comment Group is a large and active hacking group in China, according to Sophos.

Meanwhile, Telvent cut data links between some of its internal network and clients' systems, while it investigates the attack.

“Although we do not have any reason to believe that the intruder(s) acquired any information that would enable them to gain access to a customer system, or that any of the compromised computers have been connected to a customer system, as a further precautionary measure, we indefinitely terminated any customer system access by Telvent,” the company said in a statement carried by Sophos.

Dale Peterson, founder of Digital Bond, told Wired that "some project files contain the 'recipe' for the operations of a customer, describing calculations and frequencies at which systems run or when they should be turned on or off.”

Telvent informed customers about the attack in a recent letter. The hacking was discovered on Sept. 10.

Last year, Chinese officials denied it was involved in the alleged hacking of U.S. civilian satellites, TechZone360 said.

Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

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