Officials Blame Iran for Failed 2013 Hack on NY Dam

Hackers Never Had Control of Tiny Dam, Couldn't Have Done Much

Adding to the endless calls of Congressional officials for new government “cybersecurity” powers, officials today revealed that in 2013, the tiny Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook, New York, was the target of a hacking attempt, which they link to “Iranian hackers” who were trying to see what they could get access to.

Officials say the details of the incident are “classified” because of national security, though the 20-foot dam is purely used to try to control downstream flooding on the tiny blind brook. The hackers never got control of the dam, but were able to move a floodgate. Even then, Rye Brook Mayor Paul Rosenberg said they couldn’t have done much even if they had control.

The hackers got into the system because, like many aging infrastructure targets nationwide, it uses pre-Internet software awkwardly patched together with very little security. Nominally, it may serve as a wake-up call not to leave such software sitting around to be targeted, though Congressmen seemed more eager to talk up Iran as the “number one state-sponsor of terror” and demand retaliation against them.

This, despite any public evidence that Iran had anything to do with the hacking. Many US hacking incidents in recent months appear to come with a culprit country attached to them, never with any real evidence to that effect, and purely for the sake of allowing hawks to shake their fists at the country in question.

Ultimately, the incident was barely of note, and only became so because politicians are hoping to score some points publicizing it. Perhaps the most interesting aspect was that the White House was mistakenly informed about this hack because officials wrongly believed it was Arthur Bowman Dam, a massive dam in Oregon, that was the target. When it was later discovered to be a slam of concrete near Long Island, the matter more or less was dropped.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of