America’s Power Grid Vulnerable to Hacking, According to Four Federal Agencies

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    If you think that the epidemic caused chaos in the economy and the supply chain of our country, just be patient and see how much worse it can get when hackers gain access to the power grid of America.

    Many U.S. federal government agencies have issued a notice warning that the industrial control system (ICS) is being targeted by hackers using malware to disrupt the system. These devices are crucial to the infrastructure of the country.

    The warnings regarding this issue were made on April 13, and were issued by the agencies listed below: the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), The Department of Energy (DOE),the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

    Hackers are able to use tools that detect, compromise, and manage ICS devices. These devices are vulnerable to hackers since they were created with no concentration on security.

    Mike Parkin, the senior engineer in technical of Vulcan Cyber, said, “That creates them as a potential attacker to target, as once attackers have access to the area, they'll find it fairly simple to gain access to the ICS and similar devices. This is among the main reasons ICS, SCADA, and IoT devices must be installed with compensating controls.”

    In the event that these control systems are targeted, it can result in disrupted supply chains; however, it will also impact energy and power systems that are vital to emergency services, and possibly, national defense.

    Brian Contos is chief security officer at Phosphorus Cybersecurity, and he recently spoke to the media, “This is a powerful capability for a nation-state or non-state entity such as a criminal organization or terrorist group to have.”

    It's evident that attacks on ICS could shut down the power grid that serves millions of people. This will affect both safety and the economy.

    A spokesman for one expert said that in order for an organization to protect itself from these types of attacks, it'd be required to adhere to the guidelines of CISA and establish a continuous monitoring system. It is necessary to segregate OT and IT systems in order that it becomes more difficult to transfer between networks.

    Unfortunately, the criminals who are hacking this way appear to have a lot of money and it's very difficult to determine the location of their hackers. It's hard to discern whether or not the hacker is Russian, for example, or if the hacker is simply trying to convince them they're located in Russia.

    The most serious threat comes not from the people trying to steal data, but from malicious actors intent on disrupting daily lives or even the destruction of property. Hackers for profit are usually lone wolves, however those focused on destruction are amorphous and often work together.

    Experts agree that it's essential to understand that the people with the information needed to stop this danger are not ready to confront it, which implies that what we do have is speculation. What is available now is the information that individuals have accumulated over decades and their goal is to exploit infrastructure for their own purposes.

    The motives of hackers can range from political gain to financial motivation. Some are also seeking industrial espionage, as well as an advantage in business.

    The greatest threat to America is the threat posed by well-funded states or groups that are sanctioned by the state. The alert issued by federal agencies doesn't specify which organizations across the globe are responsible, but the majority believe that it's “the usual suspects” involved in the development of the malware.

    The spotlight will always be on Russians, but the culprits could be in America. It is true that several countries have been a part of the ICS malware and this includes those in the United States.

    It's likely not a matter regarding “if” anymore, but “when.” There is likely to be more chaos in the coming days, not only within our supply chain, but also in the power of our hands and defense.

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