Security Researchers at the US Power Grid have confirmed media reports that the government’s critical infrastructure is not at all prepared to withstand cyber attacks. Known as the largest interconnected machine, the US electricity Grid is having more than 7,000 power plants, 55k substations, 160,000 miles of high voltage transmission lines and millions of miles of low voltage distribution lines as its infrastructure.
As per a new document from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the US Electric Grid authorities started reviewing the safety & security standards of the critical infrastructure from November last year.
Very recently, the officials came to a conclusion that the grid is in a position to withstand natural disasters like earthquakes and floods to a fair extent. But they are not sure that the grid is going to survive surgical cyber attacks launched by some state-sponsored actors like Russia.
In December 2015 and 2016, Ukraine power grid suffered a cyber attack ‘eerily’ which affected its electricity distribution control centers using software flaws, pre- stolen credentials and sophisticated malware. Nearly, 200,000 customers suffered a black out for several hours in this attack.
US Power Grid officials have confirmed that they are doing every bit to keep the protection strong for the electric utility companies. This includes hourly monitoring of grid for attacks and using safeguarding measures like a multi-factor user authentication to keep unauthorized intruders from accessing control networks.
On an additional note, officials want the industry to come up with new updated rules to raise minimum security standards over time. They not only want the Schools and Universities educate people on the expertise related to electricity, but want them to produce smart and active cyber security defenders.
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