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"Hoping to minimize that possibility, the California Public Utilities Commission is considering rules to bolster cybersecurity protections. The agency, which held the forum Sample attended, warned in a recent report that utilities are becoming increasingly vulnerable as their networks add smart meters and other computerized gear."

Port probe programs like Nmap can get through firewalls in order to "pobe" a system for "vulnerlabilities". It has an actual legitimate purpose, but can also be used to compromise a computer system. Part of the problem is Management wanting to get their system on the internet, perhaps some random server somewhere in the "cloud". Then they, the company doesn't have to take responsibility for their SCADA system operation and maintenance. A great number of these Managers believe going to windows based systems and the "latest greatest" servers and protocol will keep them safe. From the hackers point of view, it is much more effective to concentrate on windows based operating systems and internet protocols rather than try to hack some old or obscure operating system. Hackers can use probing programs to gain entry into a windows based system, then can use other programs to circumvent software protections and gain an ever increasing cache of information about a particular system. Peeling back layer after layer of security until they own the system.