The electrical power grid is the backbone on which everything else depends. A cybercriminal could debilitate a major city by a single targeted attack on the energy grid and compromise anything from the lights and appliances in homes, to heart monitors in hospitals, to air defense systems.
The most prevalent cyberthreat reported by the global energy sector is extortion. Criminals gain access to a utility’s system, demonstrate that they are capable of doing damage, and demand a ransom.
Additional threats include espionage and sabotage all with the goal of financial gain, data theft and shutting down facilities, according to McAfee.
How did we wind up with a system of energy production and distribution so vulnerable to attack? The answer lies in well-intentioned efforts to modernise energy distribution and make it safer, cleaner, more efficient, less costly, and open to more alternative forms of production. What makes the smart grid vulnerable?