Utilities face growing cyber threats

Article Excerpt

Cyber warfare has become another method of attacking nation-states, beyond the traditional air, land and sea routes of conflict. This approach has the added benefit of being secretive, destructive and highly disruptive—all at a much lower cost than conventional warfare. Beyond power grids, hackers could inflict huge damage to sewage and water treatment systems, industrial production plants, or even transportation systems. For example, on December 23, 2015, a major power cut in Western Ukraine plunged 230,000 residents into darkness. The outage lasted for less than six hours—this marked the first-ever cyber attack to successfully take down a power grid and followed months of hackers carrying out reconnaissance of the network’s control systems. Over the past few years, numerous reports have surfaced about hackers gaining access to or control of power plants and other industrial facilities. In March 2019, Norsk Hydro ASA, one of the world’s biggest aluminum producers, suffered production outages after a cyber attack affected operations across Europe and the U.S. Still,…

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