A sophisticated new cyber weapon, created by a Russian hacking group, has penetrated over 1,000 energy firms infecting their systems and giving hackers access to power plant control systems.
According to the Daily Mail, over 1,000 European and U.S. Energy companies have been infected with a computer virus, known as “Energetic Bear” that allows hackers to take control of power plants and cripple their systems with the click of a mouse.
The attack, which is believed to have affected 1,000 energy companies in over 80 countries, targeted energy grid operators, oil pipelines, power plants, and industry industrial equipment providers.
According to Symantec, an American Cyber security firm, the group “initially targeted defense and aviation companies in the US and Canada before shifting its focus mainly to US and European energy firms in early 2013.”
The affected energy companies have all started to remove the Malware, but the fact that this group was able to able to penetrate so many different systems and operate for months – up to 18 months by some estimates – without being detected highlights just how vulnerable our entire infrastructure is to attack.
Is an Attack Power Grid Eminent?
The threat from cyber terrorists is very real, and as far back as 2012 Cyber Security Eugene Kaspersky was warning that the consequences of this type of attack would be devastating to the world. In fact, back in 2012 he warned that the threat could spell “the end of the world as we know it.” While some may say he was over-hyping the threat, the fact is, any sort of attack that crippled the grid would likely kill millions.
As we pointed out last week, government estimates say that within 1 year of an attack that took out our power grid, 9 out of 10 of all Americans would be dead. Our government simply isn’t prepared to deal with the chaos from this type of attack, and our urban centers cannot function without electricity. In a very short period of time, major cities will become death traps to those stuck inside.