December 21, 2016 by

Ukraine’s Power Grid Outage Blamed on Hackers

Over the weekend, parts of northern Kyev in Ukraine saw power blackouts and the local energy company has revealed that the outage could be the work of malicious hackers.

Ukenergo claims that a substation in the region was cut-off from the main power grid, which resulted in a power outage in the northern part of the capital city.

While the company was able to re-connect in just over an hour, the company has revealed two possible causes of failure for the outage. The company states that hacking could be a reason and adds that equipment malfunction or failure could also be a factor.

A public post by the director of the energy company pointed to an “external interference” caused by an intrusion through the company’s data network. Cybersecurity experts were put to task of investigating the outage in the immediate aftermath before engineers reverted the power station’s processes to manual mode. Restoration was completed in 30 minutes while repairing the issue took a total of 75 minutes.

The outage was immediately compared to a previous attack in December 2015 which left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians without electricity in the winter.

“These reports are reminiscent of an attack experienced at a similar time last December that left 225,000 Ukrainians cold at Christmas,” said one security expert, according to the Inquirer.

That particular attack is blamed on hackers from Russia, leading to a black-out in the Ivano-Frankivsk region in Ukraine. Reports confirmed that the infamous BlackEnergy malware was spread the infection after being triggered from a phishing campaign delivering malicious Microsoft Word documents. The country’s mobile telephony infrastructure came under attack in September 2014 after Russian hackers struck with a massive DDoS operation.

In January this year, a Ukrainian airport’s computer networks were also shut down after being infected by the BlackEnergy malware.

Image credit: Pexels.

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LIFARS is the global leader in Digital Forensics and Cyber Resiliency Services. Our experience spans two decades working on high profile events, often in concert with Law Enforcement Agencies around the world. Our proprietary methodology derives directly and indirectly from our experience working with and for U.S. Intelligence Agencies, Interpol, Europol, and NATO. We are solely dedicated to Cyber Resiliency and thus pay close attention to all aspects of our clients’ engagements experience while providing a strategic and integrated array of services to minimum risk and disruption while protecting your brand.

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