It seems likely that contractors and building maintenance teams will soon be looking to SRP Controls for more than thermostats and pressure sensors in the near future. There may soon be a strong demand for sensors that can detect attacks on the HVAC systems. It may sound crazy, but several reports, recently, report that malware is finding its way into the computers controlling commercial HVAC systems.
It is becoming increasingly common for HVAC equipment to be remotely controlled through the computer networks of commercial operations. For many reasons, this level of control is fantastic. In addition to having the ability to make adjustments to the systems remotely, it is also possible to have various sensors and controls communicate with the computers to relay important operating information. Those details can help maintenance crews recognize a potential problem before it causes an unexpected shutdown of the system. The downside, of course, is that there are hackers constantly seeking new ways to infiltrate large computer networks, and now they may have found a way to do so via the HVAC system.
Like many, we do not entirely understand what the hackers have done, but it has been explained as a method of changing temperature fluctuations into binary code. Binary code, of course, is the language used in malware production. With the ability to hack into the HVAC system, the programmers can make the appropriate temperature changes to correspond to the code that they hope to implant into the network, and ultimately get around the safety nets put in place by the tech teams.
At this point, there is no information from HVAC manufacturers what, if anything, they can do to prevent these attacks. It may be necessary to employ new and improved virus protectors in the computer networks. However, we could also see a day when SRP Controls is able to offer sensors that detect these infiltrations and send messages to the controls that can block the hackers.