Who Will Attack Your Smart Grid?

Who Will Attack Your Smart Grid?

Jan 18, 2021

DSOs have invested in smart grid technology to make their businesses more efficient, reduce energy losses/wastage, automate back-end processes (especially billing, connection, and disconnection) and tackle fraud. Unfortunately, the technology introduced to do this also exposes DSOs to attack by cyber-criminals.

By attacking the smart grid cyber-criminals can introduce outages, introduce operational inefficiencies, mislead strategic decision making and “steal” the infrastructure by rendering it non-functional at the flick of a switch.

Who would want to do this and why?

HobbyistTest their ingenuity against "the system"Generally, achieving access and posting a notification is sufficient, but damage to public image can still be large 
EmployeeNone, but human error plays a role By accident, it is possible to significantly weaken the defensive protection layers, especially as things like key management and multiple-inter-leaved defences layers introduce complexity  
Disgruntled ex-employee Getting back at the bossSimilar to hobbyist, focused on the public image of their ex-employer, but potentially damaging infrastructure and service along the way 
Hactivist Promotion of an ethical causeSimilar to disgruntled ex-employee
Local CriminalLocalised fraudTampering with meter records to reduce bills to the "customers" of the local criminal 
Organised Criminal Major fraud and ransom/extortion Systematic interference of billing and operational systems and threat of major outages
TerroristPolitical or religious differences or greedMotivated to cause actual damage with high profiles, such as actual major outages 
Hostile Nation StateAlternative to military action, and often a lot cheaper and more deniable Weakening and damaging infrastructure, often over long time-periods, developing silent "beach-heads" from which to mount attacks in the future, causing automation to fail and introducing outages
Protection of the smart grid is a huge responsibility, and one which NES takes extremely seriously. NES offers innovative solutions for protection and threat detection and response.

Find out more about this topic from this article:  Energy Theft and Fraud Reduction.

Jon Wells - Vice President of Customer Solutions at NES