Federal investigators are currently hunting down the man behind the shocking Florida water hack where the perpetrator tried to poison the water supply of Pinellas County remotely through a computer hack.
According to the authorities who are in the case, the breach was first noticed on Sunday by those who were monitoring the water plan in Oldsmar in Tampa Bay.
Based on the investigations, the Florida water hack was being executed by a hacker or hackers who were controlling the mouse of the computer system. It was also noted that the hack targeted the level of sodium hydroxide in the water supply to poisonous levels.
The sodium hydroxide or lye levels were adjusted by the hacker from 1,000 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million.
In a report by Tampa Bay Times, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County stated that the sudden increase in the levels of lye is very significant and potentially dangerous.
Lye or sodium hydroxide is the main ingredient in making liquid drain cleaners. It is a highly corrosive chemical and ingestion or contact with large amounts may cause irritation to the eyes, skin and even temporary hair loss.
Moreover, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that swallowing lye can cause severe damage to the stomach lining, mouth, and throat. In effect the ingestion of the chemical may cause nausea, vomiting, chest and abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Gualtieri also said that while he is not a chemist, he can tell that if the significant increase in amount of lye in the water system is surely not safe for drinking water.
However, he also emphasized that it has not come to a point when the Florida water hack had huge adverse effect on the water that was being treated, stressing the point that the public was never in danger, CBS News reported.
The water plant in Oldsmar supplies water to more than 15,000 residents and businesses in the area. Luckily, the operator inside the water plant was able to immediately reduce the levels of water into safety.
At the moment, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Secret Service cyber units are hunting down the culprit behind the hack. They are also trying to figure out if it was done within the US or from overseas.
Two Days Before Super Bowl LV
Concerns rose that the target of the hack was the thousands of people who went to the Super Bowl as it happened just two days before the big sporting event just about 30 miles from the venue, Raymond James Stadium.
Meanwhile, Mayor Eric Seidel of Oldsmar stated that what is now important is that nobody got hurt and that authorities are already looking for the man behind the Florida water hack, BBC reported.
On the other hand, cyber experts have warned that while it is not unusual for hackers to get into infrastructure, doing something dangerous such as trying to poison the water supply is a whole new story.
At the moment, the water plant monitors are still tracking the source of the Florida water hack, while the motive for the hack still remains unknown.