The electrical industry is just one industry that relies on SCADA systems.
As those with a vested interest in cybersecurity are well aware, the Energy Sector is considered one of the most key sectors in our critical infrastructure. Without electricity, no matter how it is generated, a nation will quickly be brought to its knees without power. Leaders in our energy sector constantly reassure us that all is well and we can rest assured that juice will continue to flow unimpeded to our homes and workspaces.
That may be the case but evidence continues to mount that those with malicious intent, hackers for want of a better word, are continuing their assaults on the world’s energy systems. Among others the Ukrainian grid recently suffered a cyber attack, and this week Yuval Steinitz of the Israeli Public Utility Authority announced that their systems were attacked by a massive largest cyber assault.
In a story written by staff at the Jerusalem Post, Steinitz is quoted as saying “I can tell you that the virus was identified and software was activated to neutralize it.” Also recently Pagliery (2016) wrote that “Hackers have stolen sensitive information from American energy companies — and have planted malware in the energy grid with the intent to turn off the lights in the future”. Clearly the ‘bad guys’ are intent on finding vulnerabilities to our energy system, taking advantage of them, and making plans to do our nation harm.
The leaders of our energy sector had better take heed of these events and start asking questions of their respective CIO/CISOs. In recent years many organizations, from JP Morgan to Sony, Home Depot to PF Chang have had their systems breached and the odds are that not one of their IT people came to a board meeting and announced that their cybersecurity was faulty and they would soon be attacked, their defenses breached and millions lost. Those in the C-Suite of our energy sector must take the responsibility to educate themselves about cybersecurity and start asking the right questions….before the lights go out.
Learn more about C-Suite training at the National Cybersecurity Institute.
Jerusalem Post Staff. (2016). Israel’s electrical grid attacked in massive cyber attack. Retrieved from the Internet at http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israels-electrical-grid-attacked-in-massive-cyber-attack-442844
Pagliery, J. (2016). Government reveals details about energy grid hacks. Retrieved from the Internet at http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/05/technology/energy-grid-hacks/