Cyber Security: Challenges in Securing the Electricity Grid

The threats to systems supporting critical infrastructures are evolving and growing. In testimony, the Director of National Intelligence noted a dramatic increase in cyber activity targeting U.S. computers and systems, including a more than tripling of the volume of malicious software. Varying types of threats from numerous sources can adversely affect computers, software, networks, organizations, entire industries, and the Internet itself. These include both unintentional and intentional threats, and may come in the form of targeted or untargeted attacks from criminal groups, hackers, disgruntled employees, nations, or terrorists.

Quelle: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) vom 17.07.12

The interconnectivity between information systems, the Internet, and other infrastructures can amplify the impact of these threats, potentially affecting the operations of critical infrastructures, the security of sensitive information, and the flow of commerce. Moreover, the electricity grid’s reliance on IT systems and networks exposes it to potential and known cybersecurity vulnerabilities, which could be exploited by attackers. The potential impact of such attacks has been illustrated by a number of recently reported incidents and can include fraudulent activities, damage to electricity control systems, power outages, and failures in safety equipment.

In a prior report, GAO has made recommendations related to electricity grid modernization efforts, including developing an approach to monitor compliance with voluntary standards. These recommendations have not yet been implemented.

Einmal mehr der Hinweis, dass die Schwachstellen und Verwundbarkeit unserer modernen Infrastruktur bekannt sind, die erforderlichen Maßnahmen aber nicht (rechtzeitig) umgesetzt werden. Damit ist es nur eine Frage der Zeit, bis die Aussage der schwedischen Studie zur Smart Meter Realität wird: 

"... it is only a question of time before the infrastructure is attacked."