From the what-could-possibly-go-wrong files comes this: An industrial control engineer recently made a workstation part of a botnet after inadvertently installing malware advertising itself as a means for recovering lost passwords.
Lost passwords happen in many organizations. A programmable logic controller—used to automate processes inside factories, electric plants, and other industrial settings—may be set up and largely forgotten over the following years. When a replacement engineer later identifies a problem affecting the PLC, they can discover the now long-gone original engineer never left the passcode behind before departing the company.
According to a blog post from security firm Dragos, an entire ecosystem of malware attempts to capitalize on scenarios like this one inside industrial facilities. Online advertisements like those below promote password crackers for PLCs and human-machine interfaces, which are the workhorses inside these environments.
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