- - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The recent cyber attack on the Ukrainian power supply system was extremely sophisticated and involved multiple, coordinated attacks.

A report from Washington-based SANS ICS was released late on Saturday, providing the first detailed analysis of what caused a six-hour outage for some 80,000 customers of Western Ukraine’s Prykarpattyaoblenergo utility. Attackers remotely switched breakers to cut power, after installing malware to prevent technicians from detecting the attack and crippled the utility’s customer-service center by flooding it with phone calls to prevent customers from alerting the utility that power was down, according to CBC News.

“This was a multi-pronged attack against multiple facilities. It was highly coordinated with very professional logistics,” said Robert Lee, a former U.S. Air Force cyberwarfare operations officer who helped compile the report for SANS ICS. “They sort of blinded them in every way possible.”

The incident is considered the first known power outage caused by a cyber attack. The American power grid is susceptible to these types of techniques.

“What is now true is that a coordinated cyber attack consisting of multiple elements is one of the expected hazards (electric utilities) may face,” said SANS ICS Director Michael Assante.



“We need to learn and prepare ourselves to detect, respond, and restore from such events in the future,” said Mr. Assante, former chief security officer of the quasi-governmental North American Electric Reliability Corp.

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