Hurricanes good practice for cyber attacks
Power utilities are better prepared for cyberattacks aimed at energy companies and the electric grid because of their responses to hurricanes and other natural disasters, but better planning and coordination are needed, executives said Thursday.
Lessons learned in the aftermath of hurricanes in Florida and after superstorm Sandy devastated the Northeast last year can be brought to bear in the next disaster, whether it is man-made or from Mother Nature, the business leaders told IHS CERAWeek.
“We’ll leverage our history of dealing with unpredictable events like storms and translate these capabilities to cyber threats,” said Florida Power & Light Co.’s chief operating officer, Deborah Caplan. Still, she noted, “we can do all the preparation in the world, but we always have to be ready for the unexpected.”
The energy industry is a major target of cyberattacks,having drawn 40 percent of the attempts made last year.Some analysts have warned that it’s not a matter of whether — but when — a cyberattack will affect the nation’s energy infrastructure.
Any attack could spread across several sectors and companies, requiring a broad response, Caplan noted. “When or if we have a cyberattack, it could happen across multiple industries,” she said. “Each them having a plan and all of us having a plan is going to become very important.”
...Such attacks could quickly drive us into a more primitive existence. They have a cascading effect when the power goes off, leading to loss of water which leads to toilets not working, food spoilage, gas pumps not working, etc. "Preppers," those who prepare for apocalyptic events will probably be the best situated. Ironically, cyber attacks would probably be pretty low on their list of threats. As the infrastructure deteriorates having weapons to defend yourself will also become more important. An AR-15 with large capacity magazines will be considered an asset.