powergrid McAfee warns of threat to energy grid security

Security firm McAfee has released details of a report into the security of energy grids, highlighting significant vulnerabilities in older systems to attack.

Security firm McAfee has released details of a report into the security of energy grids, highlighting significant vulnerabilities in older systems to attack.

 
McAfee had a stark warning for those who are complacement about securing key infrastructure like the electrical power grid, which powers pretty much everything we use. It said that a single targeted  attack could compromise lights and home appliances, heart monitors in hospitals, and air defence systems, among other things.
 
The report found that extortion was the biggest cyber threat facing the energy sector, with criminals demonstrating their capability and demanding a ransom. Espionage and sabotage are two other big fears.
 
powergrid McAfee warns of threat to energy grid security
 
McAfee discovered that roughly 70 percent of the existing energy grid in the US is over 30 years old. These have been connected to the internet with no encryption or security in mind. A decade ago this may not have been such a big issue, but with cyber attacks on the increase, this is a growing concern.
 
The automation of systems, which has made lives easier for many workers, comes at the price of more openness to attack. The increasing use of generic software to operate these facilities means that any vulnerabilities found in that software immediately expose the infrastructure, whereas proprietary software was more commonly used in the past.
 
“Security needs to be built into grid components at the planning and design phase,” said Tom Moore, VP of Embedded Security at McAfee. “Because the grid relies heavily on embedded systems it makes them ripe targets for intruders thus it is imperative to integrate security solutions natively in these devices. McAfee is working with its partners in industry and government to make great strides on the technical front to mitigate the threats to these critical systems we all rely on.”
 
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