Ever since power grids around the world started getting hitched to the internet, the one question that’s been on everyone’s mind, is how long will it take before this system gets hacked? Pretty much everything that’s digital in nature is capable of being hacked, so it stands to reason that it’s only a matter of time before the power grids we rely on will be hijacked.
Unfortunately, that day has finally arrived. The scenario that governments, corporations, and citizens have feared for years, happened in Ukraine over the holidays. Half of the homes in the Ivano-Frankivsk region went dark for several hours on December 23rd, after a virus disconnected electrical substations from the grid. Malware was found in the computers of three different electrical operators in the region, which wiped out the programs that run the system.
At least one of the malware codes was identified as “BlackEnergy” which was used in the past to attack the Ukrainian media. Experts believe that the attack came from Russia, but have refused to definitively connect the attack to any specific group or government.
This marks the first time that hackers have managed to cause a residential blackout (that we know of). Fortunately, the power grid was repaired and put back online in short order, which suggests that electrical systems aren’t completely helpless against these attacks. But since these cyber attacks are growing more sophisticated as time goes on, future incidents may not be as benign as this one.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .