A few years ago, we wrote about how the growth of cyber attacks should be considered when companies assess environmental risk of their operations. As highlighted in that article, rogue code was discovered before harm was done.
But an iron foundry in Germany was not so lucky. As reported in this WSJ article,
The plant’s control systems were breached which “resulted in an incident where a furnace could not be shut down in the regular way and the furnace was in an undefined condition which resulted in massive damage to the whole system,”
This situation should cause concern to anyone responsible for HSE and sustainability matters. Malicious control of production operations can result in all sorts of nightmare scenarios, especially where the manufacturing operation involves the use of chemicals. In the most minor case, environmental permit violations and media coverage are probable. The worst scenario could involve the intentional weaponization of manufacturing by hacking operational controls and intentionally creating another Bhopal or Chernobyl.
We continue to recommend that companies consider these issues when conducting environmental risk assessments of their operations.