Cybersecurity, Europe, Smart Grid T&D

Destructive malware shuts down power supply for first time

A ‘suspected’ cyber-attack has succeeded in shutting down the Ukraine’s power grid in what security experts say is the first such case of hackers causing a power outage.

The Ukrainian energy ministry said it was probing a “suspected” cyber-attack on the power grid, targeting several regional power companies, which the country’s intelligence service blamed on “Russian special services”.
Laptop with code
Moscow has not responded to the allegation. Tensions remain between the two nations following the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

Threat intelligence experts told the Financial Times that it is the first time the cyber security industry had seen a cyber-attack result in the shutdown of power.

Malicious software, known as malware, has previously been discovered on global power infrastructure networks, but no one has yet linked these infections to an outage.

The destructive malware used, known as BlackEnergy, points to a Russian origin for the disruption, according to security analysts.

Ukraine’s energy ministry said that it was setting up a commission to probe the suspected attack. The country’s SBU intelligence service earlier said in a brief statement that it had found malicious software in computer networks of some regional power companies.

Prykarpattyaoblenergo, a power company in western Ukraine, said that a “large-scale breakdown” had left several districts without power for hours on December 23, which it blamed on “interference”. The area included the regional capital, Ivano-Frankivsk, a city of 1.4m people.