DHS: Hackers targeted the grid 79 times this year
- There were 79 hacking incidents at energy companies in fiscal 2014 investigated by the Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, CNN Money reports. There were 145 the previous year.
- Hackers managed to break into the systems of 37% of the nation's energy companies between April 2013 and 2014, according to a survey from ThreatTrack Security reported by CNN.
- There were no attempts to disrupt electric grid operation, investigators say, but they worry the malware invasions give hackers a backdoor to grid systems where they could insert harmful programs in the future.
The nation's energy grid is almost constantly under attack, according to reporting from CNN. Cybersecurity firm FireEye identified nearly 50 different types of malware that target electric companies alone in its annual report.
Last month, CERT announced that Russian operatives were likely among the hackers to infiltrate American energy systems after they found the Russian malware BlackEnergy on software that controls American electric turbines.
Although no attempts to disrupt the energy system were discovered by investigators, many policymakers and security experts worry the American grid is open to attack.
"Our grid is definitely vulnerable," David Kennedy, TrustedSec's CEO, told CNN. "The energy industry is pretty far behind most other industries when it comes to security best practices and maintaining systems."
Despite the apparent risks to the grid, Utility Dive's 2014 State of the Electric Industry survey found that energy company executives and managers list grid cybersecurity near the bottom of their list of major concerns.
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