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Abstract vector: cybersecurity and information or network protection (vs148/ShutterStock)
In 2019, the Wall Street Journal uncovered a nightmare scenario for any energy company. A small utility in the Western United States had its cybersecurity systems breached by malicious actors based overseas, and did not know about it until government agents informed them. Hackers gained a foothold inside the utility’s defenses and went undetected for months with the capability to cause catastrophic financial and physical damage whenever they pleased by cutting power to businesses, homes, and emergency and national security installations. Energy companies should learn a key lesson from this real-world incident: in today’s energy ecosystem, cybersecurity professionals cannot defend against attacks that they cannot see.
Most energy companies today struggle with the complex technological and economic challenges involved in detecting, monitoring, and preventing cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. The operational technologies (OT) and information technologies (IT) responsible for running energy systems now were never engineered to be secured in a digital environment, posing a technical challenge tough to solve and difficult for small and mid-sized operators to afford. Yet in today’s digital energy ecosystem, the failure of weak links can take down critical infrastructure for all participants. Protecting …
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