Not-so-distant future: "..and the Flame Virus ate my homework ms johnson"
On a more serious note, I think critical systems like those in dams, nuclear plants or others should never be connected to the internet - private firms may want to lower the costs of mantainance but one cant imagine the Big problem we'd face if something went wrong with one or many of them...
[citation][nom]A Bad Day[/nom]"Many of our utilities have connected their operational management to the Internet to save costs,"Seriously?[/citation]
Yeah, it's the only thing that makes sense. The utilities need a way to communicate between stations which are miles and miles apart. Their options are to dig trenches and lay thousands of miles of copper / fiber between every one or to just connect to the internet at each site and use an encrypted protocol to communicate. This is far cheaper because the cost of laying the fiber is then shared by everyone using the internet.
Without being extremist, I don't think Israel hands are good ones. This state is showing us for years now how extreme they are by bombing schools or hospitals. Wikileaks revealed how they tried everything to slow down the peace process in order to build even more illegal colonies. I don't feel glad they have such kind of tools, from my point of view this government is not better than the Iran's one, just less pointed out by the media.
To most, if not all, utilities, running the plant/dam/whatever by computer is a convenience, not a necessity. If need be, they can turn off the computer and still deliver their respective product using manual controls.
This only affects computers running windows. Are large industrial utilities really running their operations on Windows? Never mind a virus, what about a BSOD? Would that totally destroy everything?
I think just dumb countries like Iran use Windows for stuff like that. Real companies use unix, linux, or a bsd variant. And those seem secure. I wouldn't run a website on windows, much less a multi-million dollar critical operation.