Hackers continue to target the power grid

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,601   +124
Staff member

Symantec on Wednesday warned of resurgence by a cyber espionage group that’s apparently interested in learning how energy facilities operate.

The hackers, known collectively as Dragonfly, now potentially have the ability to sabotage or gain control of key energy facility operational systems.

It is believed that the group has been in operation since at least 2011. Symantec and a few other researchers in 2014 exposed some of their activities, forcing them into a “quiet period.”

The security company revealed in a new blog post, however, that it now has evidence that the Dragonfly 2.0 campaign – which shares tactics and tools used in earlier efforts – has been underway since at least December 2015.

“Strong” signs of activity have surfaced in the US, Turkey and Switzerland, as have “traces” of activity in organizations outside of these countries. The group appears to be utilizing common infection vectors including malicious e-mail, Trojanized software and watering hole attacks (compromising websites that are likely to be visited by people involved in a particular sector) to gain access to target networks.

Security experts for years have warned that the power grid and other public utilities are vulnerable to hackers. We’ve become so dependent on modern amenities like electricity that a sudden, sustained disruption would be devastating and leave the country as a whole even more vulnerable to attack.

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amstech

Posts: 2,643   +1,804
My house has a fireplace (more for looks but she can crank out the heat if needed, has a rotary fan built in) and my garage has a woodstove. Always be prepared to go several days without power.
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,286
My house has a fireplace (more for looks but she can crank out the heat if needed, has a rotary fan built in) and my garage has a woodstove. Always be prepared to go several days without power.
Alternatively paying your utilities bill by the due date can help prevent the outage... and save money on reconnection fees.
 
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davislane1

My house has a fireplace (more for looks but she can crank out the heat if needed, has a rotary fan built in) and my garage has a woodstove. Always be prepared to go several days without power.
The problem with a power grid attack isn't at the home level. If nefarious actors were to disable the power grid for a sustained period, anyone who was "prepared" would become a target of raiders/looters due to food spoiling and overall resource scarcity in "dark zones."

This isn't so much an issue for people outside of cities and suburbia, but the closer you get to population centers the bigger a target you become.
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,485   +5,993
As shown by the NYC blackout several decades ago, there are numerous opportunities to set up a cascade failure and with so many of these utilities tied into each other a US wide power outage is a real threat. The utilities are not willing to give up their internet ties in order to eliminate the threats which makes the real point of vulnerability in the hands of the money men that are not willing to put forth the investment to "cut the cord" so to speak.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,413   +3,487
As shown by the NYC blackout several decades ago, there are numerous opportunities to set up a cascade failure and with so many of these utilities tied into each other a US wide power outage is a real threat. The utilities are not willing to give up their internet ties in order to eliminate the threats which makes the real point of vulnerability in the hands of the money men that are not willing to put forth the investment to "cut the cord" so to speak.
What I am wondering is where is 45's promise to work on infrastructure? Oh, I forgot. We really need a border wall, more people dying, fewer rapists and murderers entering the country, more fake jobs, etc. Who TF needs better infrastructure when you can have cotton candy?