An apparent denial of service attack caused a disruption in a segment of the U.S. energy grid affecting Utah, Wyoming, and Southern California.
Little is currently known about the incident. It occurred March 5th, disabling several security devices. An unnamed utility company reported the incident to the Department of Energy.
“There was a denial-of-service attack…and that basically led operators to not be able to see what was going on in the grid,” said journalist Blake Sobczak, who initially reported the story. “As long as nothing crazy happens, you should be fine, but it certainly constitutes a disruption and a reportable event here to the Department of Energy.”
While the potential cyberattack did not lead to any known outages or interruptions in service and used a relatively unsophisticated method, it is noteworthy for being the first known incident to successfully target the nation’s energy infrastructure. Hackers targeting the U.S. energy grid have been theoretical up to this point, but security experts have long maintained that the infrastructure is poorly secured and that many utility companies are unprepared when it comes to cyber defense.
Fears of an attack on utilities have increased in the wake of Russian infiltration of U.S. critical infrastructure announced in 2018 by the Department of Homeland Security.