Hacker Takes Over Russian Gas System

Event Year: 1999 Reliability: Likely But Unconfirmed
Country: Russian Federation
Industry Type: Petroleum

According to a Associated Press news release,  in 1999 a hacker took over control of a Russian gas system by penetrating the Gazprom (Russia’s state-run gas monopoly) SCADA system.(#1). National Petroleum Council report seems to confirm this, but it may just be repeating the AP story.

AP story states:  “By acting with a Gazprom insider, hackers were able to get past the company’s security and break into the system controlling gas flows in pipelines, Interior Ministry Col. Konstantin Machabeli said, according to the Interfax news agency. The “central switchboard of gas flows” was ``for some time” under the control of external users, Machabeli said in the report. He did not say if the hackers caused any damage. Machabeli said the hackers used a ``Trojan horse” program, which stashes lines of harmful computer code in a benign-looking program, Interfax said. The report did not identify the hackers or say if anyone had been apprehended.”(#1)

However 1 week later the Russian Interior Ministry denied the report:
“Wednesday denied the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom’s computer networks had been hacked. Deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s directorate for combatting high-tech crime, Konstantin Machabeli, told a press conference that reports about hacked Gazprom computer networks carried by some media were “slightly exaggerated”. At the same time, he admitted that his directorate had registered an attempt to hack Gazprom’s gas flow control system. However, the company technological security service “managed to track them down and catch quickly”. The security service set up a trap computer to imitate Gazprom computer network’s operation. The hackers took the bait and broke into the computer.” (#3)


Loss of control of the SCADA system