Hackers ‘could bring down the power grid’ with massive cyber attack on UK’s energy infrastructure
April 19, 2016
Shah Sheikh (1294 articles)

Hackers ‘could bring down the power grid’ with massive cyber attack on UK’s energy infrastructure

Hackers could bring down the power grid with a massive cyber attack on the UK’s energy infrastructure, the World Energy Council has warned.

In a wide-reaching report, the UN-accredited organisation said that the risk from cyber threats has moved up the agenda this year – specifically in North America and Europe.

“Since the last report, UK energy security has seen a marked refocusing on to non-industry-related external threats such as those from terrorism and cyber attacks, whether individual or state-sponsored,” the report states.

“A clearer understanding of the nature of cyber risk and mitigation measures for energy infrastructure is necessary, in an environment of increasing interconnectivity and emerging technologies.”

The UK is not the only country stepping up its defences against hackers. Energy leaders in Germany are increasingly concerned with cyber threats, according to the report.

GettyMan using a computer

“This heightened awareness is on the one hand related to the debate over EU-wide regulations on cyber security in 2015,” it said.

“On the other hand it is linked to the design of the national wide plan for a smart meter roll out from 2017 on. As conversations about smart grid technologies in Germany intensify, cyber is likely to be increasingly perceived as a critical issue.”

Meanwhile, Japan and Estonia also highlighted the growing threat of cyber attacks, citing political uncertainty and society’s growing reliance on digital methods of managing energy resources.

Christopher Frei, director general at the World Energy Council, told City A.M. that cyber security is a very big issue for energy infrastructure.

Read more: Hackers could crash electricity grids and cause massive blackouts using this terrifyingly simple trick

PAElectricity pylons

“In the last two years this issue has really come close to – if not to the top of – the issues keeping energy leaders awake at night,” he said.

Asked whether he believes that businesses and politicians in the UK are underestimating this risk, he said: “Yes I do.”

The warning comes after Ukraine’s power grid was brought down by a Russian cyber attack in December 2015, leaving 80,000 people without power for six hours.

The attack was so severe that it knocked out internal systems intended to help the power companies restore power. Computers were destroyed, and even the call centres used to report outages were knocked out.

This is thought to be the first time a power outage has been caused by a cyber attack, and potentially paves the way for wider use of hacking as a tool in cyber warfare.

Source | Mirror