The story sounds like the plot of the next Avengers movie, but we assure you, it is very real.
When the Super Bowl comes to town, it brings with it an economy all its own – even during these COVID-plagued days and weeks. Not only are the fans flocking to the host city in droves, but there are also a number of NFL-adjacent corporations who will invade the locale, hosting parties, meetings, and soirees. Promotional groups arrive to hock their products to the mass influx of tourists, and the black markets for drugs and prostitution also see a massive uptick as the high rollers roll into town.
It was perhaps this bloated victim pool that enticed some nefarious cyber-terrorists to take a shot at poisoning all of Tampa ahead of the Super Bowl.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during a news conference on Monday that a plant worker at the city of Oldsmar’s water treatment facility first noticed unusual activity with its computer system at 8 a.m. on Friday, when a hacker briefly access the system.
At about 1:30 p.m., a hacker accessed the system again, taking control of the mouse and directING it to the software that controls water treatment. The hacker then briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million.
Sodium hydroxide is commonly known as lye, and is the most prevalent ingredient in drain cleaners and other household chemical agents.
A keen-eyed worker at the water treatment plant noticed the increased lye numbers and was able to prevent any dangerous situations from erupting.
As of this writing, authorities aren’t sure who was responsible for the attack, or even if the hack came from within the United States.
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