- - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

According to Ukraine’s security service, SBU, Russian special services planted malware inside the Ukrainian power grid and recently shut down power stations. The SBU says the malware was discovered and removed. The regional power companies also experienced a denial of service cyber attack, which overwhelmed their support call center.

Just before Christmas, multiple power outages were reported in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast region of Ukraine. The attackers took over control systems to remotely shut down the power grid, according to SecurityWeek.com.

The cyber attacks in Ukraine highlight the continued weakness of the American power system. Threats known as Energetic Bear and Dragonfly, believed to be operating out of Russia, have targeted the American and European power grids since early 2013. Strategic facilities were compromised in these attacks and the intruders could have caused widespread damage and long-term power outages in the affected countries.

A July report by insurance company Lloyd’s and the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies at University of Cambridge estimated that an attack, where adversaries damaged 50 generators supplying power to the electrical grid, could result in between $243 billion and $1 trillion in economic damage.

The American power grid remains highly vulnerable to cyber attack as well as being open to physical destruction due to lack of security infrastructure.



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