Post from The Telegraph
Hackers may have compromised Britain’s energy grid, GCHQ has said as it warned that cyber criminals are targeting the country’s energy sector.
The security agency said industrial control systems may have already been the victim of attacks by nation state hackers.
GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre warned other sectors have also been affected in the series of attacks targeting Britain’s national infrastructure.
State-sponsored cyber criminals may have hacked into systems run by engineering, industrial control and water companies, according to the report, which was leaked to Motherboard. Some of the affected organisations could have access to critical systems.
“We are aware of reports of malicious cyber activity targeting the energy sector around the globe,” said the NCSC. “We are liasing with our counterparts to better understand the threat and continue to manage any risks to the UK.”
It comes amid reports of attempted cyber attacks against energy companies in the US and Ireland. Hackers backed by the Russian Government targeted energy networks in Ireland last month, according to the Times, which could have given them access to the UK’s national grid.
The cyber criminals sent emails to senior engineers at Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board designed to download malicious software that could have given them access to control systems.
The FBI warned earlier this month that state-sponsored hackers, possibly backed by Russia, were targeting nuclear facilities in the US after at least a dozen US power plants were successfully breached.
It is not clear who is behind the attacks or why the energy sector is a target, but the NCSC said the same hackers are likely to be behind both attacks. Similar nation state attacks have previously been used for information-gathering espionage purposes and to shut energy off during a conflict, and have been attributed to Russia.
Ukraine suffered the first known example of a hack bringing down a major power network at the end of 2015. The attack left around 700,000 homes in Western Ukraine without power for several hours.