First Denial of service Cyber-attack on U.S. Power Grid : NERC Report

Cyber Attack in Power Grid

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As the Information and communication technology reached in different sectors like financing, banking, industrial automation, power sector and more, the risk of security also increasing. The type of security threat on these technical system is cyber threat. It means apart from the conventional war between two countries there is now more focus on cyber-attack through hacking. There are many examples of cyber-attack in banking, power grid, or any other industrial system. In December 2015, Russian hackers attack on the Ukraine power grid that causes to switch of the 30 substations and many thousand people were left without electricity for 1 to 7 hours. It is most successful cyber-attack on any electric grid.

Recently, A cyber-attack on U.S. grid created the blind spots at a grid control centre and several small power generation sites in the western United states, according to a document posted by North American Electric Reliability Corp or NERC. The blind spots would have left grid operators in the dark for five-minute spans — not enough time to risk power outages but still posing a setback to normal operations. This disruption remain only for 5 minutes and no single outages , said by NERC in its report “Lesson Learned” posted on grid regulators website.

According to EE news a energy news website, The case offered a stark demonstration of the risks U.S. power utilities face as their critical control networks grow more digitized and interconnected — and more exposed to hackers. "Have as few internet facing devices as possible," NERC urged in its report. This cyber stack is simpler and less dangerous than the Ukraine attack.

Reid Wightman , a cyber-security expert at Dragos Inc. told EE news that he did not see any evidence that power grid was indeed targeted by hackers. “This was probably just an automated bot that was scanning the internet for vulnerable devices, or some script kiddie," he said, using a term for an unskilled hacker.

Taking seriously

Multiple federal agencies of U.S. has taken this event seriously, collectively responsible for keeping the lights on in the face of an onslaught of cyber and physical threats. Though, the blind spots that were created on the cyber security of grid made the operators unable to access the system for 5 minutes only. This may not have been enough to cause major power outages, but still it could pose a major setback to normal operations.

Now the time is to became smart in every sector like smart electronics, smart grid, smart network etc. With the use of Artificial intelligence and machine learning the systems became smart. For exp- the concept of smart grid is goin on. That means, a much more complex network of interconnected system. So the risk of cyber attacks is also a major concern.

You can not deny these computer based industrial systems, because there is a lot of data and process that are running automatically and based on this any operator takes decision. So to protect the system form cyber attack system upgradation and security aspect needed more. 

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