Compared to many other industries – e.g., medical, retail, and finance for example – the energy industry is rather new to interconnectivity. As with other industries, as connectivity increases – think of push for a so-called smart grid – the security risks will, likewise, continue to grow. Unlike many other industries, utilities, as an especially critical part of a nation’s infrastructure, are extremely valuable targets for cyberattacks – especially by perpetrators looking to either cripple a country/region or to make a political statement. By undertaking a phishing attack or through the exploitation of unknown or unpatched system vulnerabilities, perpetrators can remotely gain access to a utilities internal control network and, subsequently, lock local operators out and either sabotage or partially sabotage the utility itself or simply hold it hostage and shut off power to customers. On any scale, such attacks would be significant; however, if done on a larger scale, a state actor could potentially cripple an adversary. If done during a conflict, such an action could, potentially, be a determining factor in the outcome of conflict.

Read More Read Less
View More