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?
|ACTOR||THEIR MOTIVATION||WHAT THEY CAN DO|
|Hobbyist||Test their ingenuity against "the system"||Generally, achieving access and posting a notification is sufficient, but damage to public image can still be large|
|Employee||None, 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 boss||Similar 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 cause||Similar to disgruntled ex-employee|
|Local Criminal||Localised fraud||Tampering 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|
|Terrorist||Political or religious differences or greed||Motivated to cause actual damage with high profiles, such as actual major outages|
|Hostile Nation State||Alternative 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|