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Siemens said on Tuesday that it is working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to investigate a cyber intrusion into a water treatment plant in South Houston, Texas, but couldn’t confirm that a default, three digit password hard coded into an application used to control the company’s SCADA software played a role. 

In an e-mail interview with Threatpost, the hacker who compromised software used to manage water infrastructure for South Houston, Texas, said the district had HMI (human machine interface) software used to manage water and sewage infrastructure accessible to the Internet and used a password that was just three characters long to protect the system, making it easy picking for a remote attack.

Dillon Beresford, the NSS Labs researcher who disclosed serious holes in industrial control system software from Siemens says the company is downplaying the seriousness of the vulnerabilities in its public statements, and that a supposed “fix” for the vulnerabilities is inadequate. 

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