Could Malware Impact Electric Grids?

If 2017 has taught us anything, it's that large-scale cyberattacks are on the rise (just look at the United Kingdom and Ukraine). Some experts believe that electrical grids could be the next target for government-backed hackers. But how close is this fear to becoming a reality? What can small businesses do to protect themselves?

Thankfully, you don't have to suffer these consequences alone. Cyber risk insurance coverage from CyberPolicy can help your business through the tough times brought on by data breach or cyberattack.

When the Lights Go Out
According to an article in Forbes, two cybersecurity companies uncovered a sophisticated malware program capable of instigating massive power outages by shutting down electrical grids via remote transmission.

The malware, dubbed "Crash Override" or "Industroyer," was likely used to cut power in the Ukraine during a cyberattack in December 2016. Experts have pinned the attack on Russia, who has characteristically denied any involvement.

So far, the malware has only been used to disrupt a single energy system in the Ukraine. The incident allowed hackers to shut down one-fifth of the electrical power generated in Kiev. However, there are concerns that the modified malware could be used elsewhere including Europe and the United States.

"This threat should absolutely make grid operators and the security community take these types of threats more seriously," says Dragos CEO and Founder Robert M. Lee, in an interview with The Hill.

However, this isn't the first time a piece of malware has been crafted to disrupt industrial processes. In 2010, researchers discovered the Stuxnet computer worm which is responsible for inflicting substantial damages to Iran's nuclear program.

It's entirely possible that we could see more infrastructure hacking in the near future, especially from government-back hacking collectives. After all, the world has already seen massive cyberattacks targeting hospitals, banks, airlines and utilities extending beyond international borders.

We already know that hackers are adept at interrupting business operations through distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and ransomware. Perhaps electrical grids are the next logical step for hackers and state-sponsored cyber terrorists.

Businesses would be wise to back up their data in preparation for massive cyberattacks like the ones listed above. This way, even if the power goes out or your systems are locked down, you can still access your information (albeit from a non-connected computer).

It might also help to avoid malware infections on your work network. This means training employees to delete suspicious emails, dodge malicious downloads and keep their software programs up to date.

Another smart idea is to invest in cyber risk insurance coverage from a dependable provider. Cyber risk insurance covers a number of immediate response costs associated with cyberattack or data breach including extortion or ransom payments, loss of income due to business interruption and theft.

So, even if the power goes out or your company is victimized by a ruthless cyberattack, cyber risk insurance can be the light at the end of the tunnel. Don't let your business suffer the financial damages of cyberattack alone. Visit CyberPolicy for your free cyber risk insurance quote today!

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