Cyberwar watchers took notice this month when a leaked intelligence memo claimed Russian hackers had remotely destroyed a water pump at an Illinois utility. The report spawned dozens of sensational stories characterizing it as the first-ever reported destruction of U.S. infrastructure by a hacker.
Except that the report was a completely untrue and the reality much more prosaic. The pump burned out, as they do from time to time. The mysterious Russian connection was due to one of the designers of the system calling in to check some logs after he was urgently contacted about some issues with the plant five months before the pump eventually failed. Normally this would not create a problem except for the small detail that we was on vacation at the time.
In Russia (insert 'In Soviet Russia' jokes here). The fact that someone had logged into the system from a foreign country fully five months before the pump failed was somehow conflated into a Stuxnet-type operation in the bowels of the American security watchdogs.
And we think we're paranoid.