back to article Finns chilling as DDoS knocks out building control system

Residents in two apartment buildings in the Finnish town of Lappeenranta had a chill-out lasting more than a week after a DDoS attack battered unprotected building management systems. The apartments are managed by a company called Valtia. The attack blocked the building management systems' Internet connections, according to …

  1. Knoydart
    Flame

    Fire, well the Finns need to warm up!

  2. MrDamage

    As per usual

    Smart devices + dumb providers = TITSUP

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pursuing a short-term efficiency leads to the long-term risk

    So let me get it straight: if these buildings lose internet connectivity for any reason, building management systems (including heating and elevator control) shut down in a way which can not be overridden on-site? In Finland, where overnight temperaturs below -20C are normal in winter? All presumably done to eliminate the need for occational visits by the site caretaker?

    I assume the same thing would happen if someone digs a ditch across their upstream provider's uplink, or there is a fire in the local exchange, or any of the gazillion other little inevitable accidents happen.

    If I were an unfortunate soul owning a unit in those buildings, I would be desperately trying to find a sucker to unload it onto.

    1. Alistair
      Coat

      Re: Pursuing a short-term efficiency leads to the long-term risk

      urrrm.

      I'd be the nutbar techie making sure I had copies of appropriate software handy. And a reasonable understanding of the local networking.

    2. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

      Re: Pursuing a short-term efficiency leads to the long-term risk

      bizarre really, " our system requires a 5000 mile long wire to a remote computer, without which it won't work"

      1. DropBear

        Re: Pursuing a short-term efficiency leads to the long-term risk

        I think the more realistic version is "our systems could work perfectly fine without any 5000 mile long wire, but we're not willing to stick our neck out for whatever that might happen while we are unable to keep our eyes on them (very, very) remotely so we'll make sure if that wire breaks you won't be allowed to use them"...

    3. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Pursuing a short-term efficiency leads to the long-term risk

      At the other end of the heating spectrum, apparently the latest version of iKettle doesn't have auto-switch-off-when-boiled unless the kettle is internet connected.

      The Finns should connect some of these kettles to their boiler network - when the network goes down the heating switches off but the kettles boil dry, providing much needed heat!

  4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    According to other sources the attack may have lasted quite some time, but the heat was off for an hour or so because "maintenance crews went on-site and shut down the internet links and switched the heating systems over to manual, restoring service".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed; according to the reports in Finnish the systems restarted soon as the network cable was yanked out, which is probably where it should be left if the system can't cope gracefully with loss of internet connectivity. Sheltering behind a firewall isn't really a long-term solution to that flaw, it just ups the volume of traffic needed to pull the trick off next time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only a Brit could believe it's possible to be without heating for a week in the winter. Something with Google translate?.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Only a Brit could believe it's possible to be without heating for a week in the winter

        Not really.

        Any house built to the passive house standards will still be inhabitable (if a little cooler than usual) if all heating ceases for a week during the winter. Houses built to the German KfW 55 and KfW 40 efficiency standards will tolerate several days without heating during the winter as well.

        Although Passivhaus building are not very common, a large fraction of new or refurbished structures in Germany are built to the KfW 55/40 standards.

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Only a Brit could believe it's possible to be without heating for a week in the winter

          Although Passivhaus building are not very common, a large fraction of new or refurbished structures in Germany are built to the KfW 55/40 standards.

          A friend of mine researches building energy performance in Germany. From what he says, the mindset involved in VW's fiddling of emission standards is endemic throughout Germany, so whereas a large fraction of new building might be described as built to the standards, they're very probably not.

          1. Knoydart

            Re: Only a Brit could believe it's possible to be without heating for a week in the winter

            You've not met too many New Zealanders then. They love their uninsulated, unheated houses and this is in a country where you are in the roaring 40's and the odd storm arrives live and direct from Antarctica.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Only a Brit could believe it's possible to be without heating for a week in the winter

              @ Knoydart

              New Zealand has a mild and temperate maritime climate (Köppen: Cfb) with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north.

              That represents spring and autumn in the Nordic counties. Winter is below zero C.

              This would be a normal mild winters day in Finland (disappearing as it is):

              "the township of Ranfurly in Central Otago holds the New Zealand record for lowest temperature with a reading of -25.6 °C on 18 July 1903.

              Winters in southern Finland (when mean daily temperature remains below 0 °C or 32 °F) are usually about 100 days long, and in the inland the snow typically covers the land from about late November to April, and on the coastal areas such as Helsinki, snow often covers the land from late December to late March.[51] Even in the south, the harshest winter nights can see the temperatures fall to −30 °C (−22 °F) although on coastal areas like Helsinki, temperatures below −30 °C (−22 °F) are very rare.

              In northern Finland, particularly in Lapland, the winters are long and cold, while the summers are relatively warm but short. The most severe winter days in Lapland can see the temperature fall down to −45 °C (−49 °F).

              1. Knoydart

                Re: Only a Brit could believe it's possible to be without heating for a week in the winter

                That may be true (and I have relatives who are Scandinavian based so I know what a proper winter is like). Its a pretty damp country on the edges however - Central Otago is one of the drier areas in the country where as somewhere like Wellington or Dunedin may not get cold (by Scandinavian standards) but the damp defiantly makes for poor health outcomes when the houses are uninsulated and unheated.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Only a Brit could believe it's possible to be without heating for a week in the winter

          " if all heating ceases for a week during the winter" Perhaps you should define what you consider "the winter". then, -5, -10, -15, -20C or more, day and night. Well come. Or is it about the "possible", I could possibly walk around town naked all day, but would I. More people die due to the could in the southern parts of Europe than in the northern part because in the north people are prepared for the winter.

  5. VinceH

    cold showers

    What the idiots who set it all up in the first place probably need.

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