Power grids could be next on hacker’s agendas

By:  |  Category: Blog, Security Wednesday, January 15th, 2020  |  No Comments

“The number of cyber-criminal operations targeting electricity and other utilities is on the rise, according to a new report on the state of industrial control systems.”

Not only do we need to worry about our security cameras, smart TVs, and local municipalities being attacked, but now there are multiple hacker groups with the ability to “interfere with or disrupt power grids across the US.”

According to the cyber security company Dragos, the rise in “interest” by bad actors to target electricity grids, power companies and other utility systems in the US coincides with “political and military tensions in the Gulf.” We’re talking about the tensions that have continued to increase as the threat of retaliation looms overhead.

There’s still a chance cyber espionage will be the choice form of action.

The North American Electric Cyber Threat Perspective report has warned, “The threat landscape focusing on electric utilities in North America is expansive and increasing, led by numerous intrusions into ICS networks for reconnaissance and research purposes and ICS activity groups demonstrating new interest in the electric sector.”

Seven of the groups that have demonstrated interest and could potentially demonstrate a serious enough threat to our nation, are currently being tracked according to the report.

Three of the “operations that show evidence of disruption capabilities: Xenotime, Dymalloy and Electrum.” ZDNet outlines these three groups and explains the activities they are infamous for:

In 2017 Xenotime facilitated the Triton cyberattack that “disrupted oil and gas facilities in Saudi Arabia,” targeting Triconex safety controllers. Xenotime’s activities have expanded to include North America as well as Europe, Australia and the Middle East. 

Dymalloy’s reputation is a “highly aggressive and capable activity group.” This group is able to access IT and operational environments that could both gain secure information and enact possible disruption. Attacks have been confirmed in Turkey, Europe and North America.

Electrum’s reputation pertains more to power grids than we find comfortable to discuss, “capable of developing malware that can modify electric equipment processes.” Attacks mostly include Ukraine (causing power outages in winter), however this group is highly capable of reaching the US.

While we’re fortifying our defenses we’re also paying close attention to these very real threats and doing all we can to thwart cyberattacks that would allow access into pertinent systems. ZDNet recommends simple security practices, “like segmenting networks, installing security patches, not using default passwords and requiring two-factor authentication on systems inside industrial environments.”

If you need assistance with cybersecurity services contact EnhancedTECH at [email protected]

–Emmy Seigler

Source:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/these-hacking-groups-are-eyeing-power-grids-says-security-company/

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/0Tyc07NbToI

Samantha Keller
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