Week in Smart Metering - Cyber Attacks On The Increase

Increased likelihood of a major attack on critical infrastructure is indicated, writes Claire Volkwyn, Editor, Metering & Smart Energy International.
Published: Wed 30 Mar 2016

I find the concept of hacking and cybersecurity fascinating. Not just, ‘oh that’s interesting’ but more of a ‘gee, I wish I could do that’ kind of fascinating. Mainly because I admire the obvious brains behind the hacks and hackers, but also because in the movies hackers are generally cool, calm under pressure and the good guys always save the day without a single shot being fired. 

So, I tend to keep up with what’s happening in the field of cybersecurity, even if I only understand a fraction of the technical stuff. What has struck me recently, has been the increased number of hacks on big name brands, including Verizon over the last week or so.

A round up of the various predictions for 2016 seem to indicate an increased likelihood of a major attack on critical infrastructure, with Symantec, Fire Eye, Sophos, Business Insider and Impervia among others predicting increased attacks on Internet of Things devices and critical infrastructure. According to a great round up piece written by Dan Lohrmann of govtech.com, "Last year, the hacking critical infrastructure theme was much more muted in security predictions for 2015 than in predictions for 2016. Almost every major security company predicted some major life-altering utility (such as power) outage as a result of a cyberattack against utilities or supply chains. Reports and white papers released in 2015 backed-up these assertions, so it may be time to buy that generator or dust off your 72-hour emergency plan.”

In the next edition of Metering & Smart Energy International, we are going to be examining the role of cybersecurity in the utility sector, including input from a hacker himself who gives some insight into the why, where and how of the hack and this is just part of our ongoing discussion around cybersecurity across the course of the year.

For the rest of you who want to get some more insights into what 2016 holds from a cybersecurity point of view – check out these reports:

- 2016 Threats Predictions

- KPMG predictions for the cyber security industry in 2016

At the end of the day, what is obvious is that utilities and critical infrastructure providers need to pay more attention to just how resilient they are to these types of attacks.

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