For John, BLUF: SCADA. Nothing to see here; just move along.
On 4 January of this new year Mr Eric Limer had an article in Popular Mechanics—"The Age of Hacker-Caused Blackouts Is Upon Us".
The sub-headline is:
A malware attack left thousands of homes without power in Ukraine and this is only the beginning.So why should we care?
Because it could happen here, today.
This is not to say it will, but it is quite possible. We have seen it before, with the Northeast Blackout of 2003♠ And other, smaller blackouts. And that is without the help of hackers. It has just been from accidents. If, instead of doing the Boston Marathon Bombing the Chechen brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev wanted to do a better job, they could have hacked into the New England electric grid and brought everything to a halt. And the 2003 Blackout had 12 deaths attributed to it, plus the fall of a Provincial Government in Canada.
Here is the lede plus one:
In the past few years, the amount of damage that hackers can do by just accessing data has become painfully clear. Between the Target hack that exposed millions of credit card numbers to the Anthem insurance hack that affected over 70 million people, to the savage hacks that brutalized Sony, a lot of private data has leaked. But the targets are evolving, and after a recent malware-caused power outage in Ukraine, the days of infrastructure hacking are now here.Regards — Cliff
First reported by Ukrainian news agency TSN (surfaced by Ars Technica Ars Technica), the December 23rd malware-based attack disconnected a handful of electrical substations, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes in a particular region of the country without power. If officially confirmed, it will be the first known case of a mass power outage caused by hackers.
♠ Eastern Massachusetts was spared, but Worcester was sufficiently impacted that computers rebooted.