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Man on vacation confused for a Russian spy, almost restarts cold war

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Threats of Russian espionage can come from the unlikeliest of sources, as Jim Mimlitz, owner of Navionics Research, a small integrator firm, knows only too well. Curran Gardner Public Water District, just outside of Springfield, Illinois, employed Mimlitz's firm to set up its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (SCADA), and the spy games began when Mimlitz went on vacation in Russia. While there, he logged into the SCADA system to check some data, then logged off and went back to enjoying Red Square and the finest vodka mother Russia has to offer.

However, five months later a Curran Gardner water pump fails, and an IT contractor eyeballing the logs spots the Russian-based IP address. Fearing stolen credentials, he passes the info up the chain of command to the Environmental Protection Agency (as it governs the water district) without bothering to contact Mimlitz, whose name was in the logs next to the IP address. The EPA then passed along the paranoia to a joint state and federal terrorism intelligence center, which issued a report stating that SCADA had been hacked. Oh boy. A media frenzy followed bringing all the brouhaha to Mimlitz's attention. After speaking with the FBI, the massive oversight was identified, papers were shuffled, and everyone went about their day. So, next time you delete all your company's e-mail, or restart the wrong server, remember: at least you didn't almost start World War III. Tap the source link for the full story.

[Image courtesy Northackton]

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