The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has warned the government that the country’s grid infrastructure has been hacked, according to a leaked document.
The eight-page file, created as part of the data-sharing efforts between government and industry spearheaded by the NCSC, a part of GCHQ, stated that there are signs of foreign interference within Britain’s energy network.
“The NCSC is aware of connections from multiple UK IP addresses to infrastructure associated with advanced state-sponsored hostile threat actors, who are known to target the energy and manufacturing sectors,” it says. It later adds: “NCSC believes that due to the use of wide-spread targeting by the attacker, a number of Industrial Control System engineering and services organisations are likely to have been compromised.”
While there is no speculation regarding the “threat actors” within the document itself, attacks on power grids have been very rare to date, the most notable being the attack on the Ukrainian grid in 2015, which disrupted electricity to 230,000 people.
It is not yet known what the hackers who have compromised the supply chain of the UK’s power grid are able to do with their access
A spokesperson for NCSC told Sky News: “We are aware of reports of malicious cyber activity targeting the energy sector around the globe. We are liaising with our counterparts to better understand the threat and continue to manage any risks to the UK.”
While further detail has yet to emerge, National Grid, in a statement to Power Engineering International, said, “National Grid has robust monitoring systems in place that are aligned with industry best practice and assessed by government and regulatory agencies. The IT systems we use to operate our gas and electricity networks are isolated from our everyday business systems to ensure our networks remain safe and reliable”.