Cyber Attacks Part I – When, not if

The smart grid offers convenience, but it also makes cyber attacks more likely. Smart grids rely on technology that has created millions of new access points for hackers to breach. In a world where credit card breaches are becoming commonplace it’s not ‘if’, but ‘when’ will they become a target of focus for Cyber vandals or state-sponsored hacking? It may be sooner than you think.

The National Security Agency said the U.S. grid was successfully hacked in November by several foreign governments — likely Russia, Iran and China. A report by Mountain View, California-based cyber-security company SentinelOne predicts that such attacks will disrupt American electricity in 2015. An interruption that causes a ripple effect could lead to extensive physical damage and economic disruption.

Energy companies in countries including Spain, France, the UK, and the United States are being targeted today by Russian hackers who have threatened to disrupt power supplies. The group called Energetic Bear have attacked more than 1,000 organizations since they were uncovered in 2012. The hackers, nicknamed Dragonfly, have developed software that allows them to assume remote control over power companies and  disrupt power supplies to customers.

A statement issued by computer security company Symantec said: “Among the targets of Dragonfly were energy grid operators, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipeline operators, and energy industry industrial equipment providers” in the United States and Europe.  The attacks are specifically directed at industrial control systems.

West Monroe Partners helps protect critical infrastructure.

Interested in discussing more? Contact me at or come stop by and see us at Distributech Booth 620 Feb 2-5th.  We would love to hear your thoughts.


Phone: 312-602-4000
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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