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Electricity grid defenses so weak that insurers deny protection against cyberattack

Posting in Energy

 

Transmission Tower UK Ian Halsey Flickr.jpg
Hacked Off? Cyber attackers could stop electricity from flowing through these things.
 Britain's electricity network is so vulnerable to cyberattack that insurers are denying protection to most of the energy companies that request it.

Laila Khudari, an underwriter at Lloyd's of London's Kiln Syndicate, told the BBC that there has been a "huge increase" in the number of utilities and energy outfits seeking insurance against damages from potential cyber-related outages.

"Unfortunately, said Ms Khudari, after such checks were carried out, the majority of applicants were turned away because their cyber-defences were lacking," the BBC wrote.

While insurers continue to protect the companies against data breaches, they have for the most part refused to extend coverage to attacks on actual power generation and distribution.

So why are companies all of a sudden seeking such coverage? 

"I think what's behind it is the increase in threats and the fact that a lot of these systems were never previously connected to the outside world," Khudari said. As grids and generation become "smarter," more connected and more remotely controlled via information technology systems, they also offer more potential intrusion points.

"If something has basic connectivity then it will become internet connectivity through some channel,"said Nathan McNeill, chief strategy officer at remote management firm Bomgar.

Hmmm. And has the Internet ever been hacked? Uh-oh. 

Photo is from Ian Halsey via Flickr


— By on February 28, 2014, 5:28 AM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure