Cyberattack on U.S. Power Plants Could Cause $1T in Economic Damage

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Let’s imagine an “improbable, but not impossible” cyberassault on the U.S. power grid. A shadowy group of skilled and malicious actors spend years implanting a piece of malware, dubbed the “Erebos” trojan, in the control systems of power plants across the Northeastern United States. It determines which of them haven’t yet installed hardware to prevent a type of cyber-enabled assault that’s been known to the industry for nearly a decade. Then, on one fateful day, they activate the malware, causing up to 50 power-plant turbines to overload and burn out, blacking out the power grid between Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C., and leaving 93 million people across 15 states without electricity. While some power is restored within 24 hours, it takes weeks for the rest — and the cost to the U.S. economy adds up to $243 billion, or in a worst-case scenario, nearly $1 trillion. That’s the scenario that “Business Blackout,” a joint report by Lloyd’s and the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Risk Studies, lays out for a utility industry that’s seeing cyberintrusions rise at an unprecedented pace. It also takes on the challenging questions of how to invest in protecting utilities against cyberthreats that are […]

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