Protecting utilities from cyberattacks

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With the exponential growth of digital infrastructure over the past few years, it is paramount to maintain protection of these systems from cyberattacks. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world we live in irrevocably in numerous ways that we could never have accounted for. As many workers were forced into lockdown across the globe, the importance of remote working served as a lifeline for many companies struggling to keep their heads above water in a very turbulent financial climate.  

With this increased dependency on working from home, the digital landscape for corporations underwent a renaissance period of development: attitudes towards remote working were deemed more acceptable than they were five years prior. To accommodate this, evolution and innovation in digital infrastructure was necessary. This unprecedented exponential growth was not without its forthcomings, however: something was bound to be left behind and that proved to be the security protecting these new digital systems.  

The amount of cyberattacks, particularly on utility companies, increased by over 750 within the first year of the pandemic as more workers moved to remote working – hacking has seen an unfortunate boom in the wake of this innovation as there are more easily exploitable targets online than there ever were before.  

Hackers in previous years often targeted individuals with somewhat benign phishing schemes that served to advertise a phony product or collect data from victim’s social media accounts. These kinds of attacks were especially prevalent during the early 2010s: I have a distinct memory of a popular individual in my school falling for one of these phishing scams which consequentially spread like wildfire throughout their Facebook friends list – within 48 hours, nearly half of my news feed was saturated with the same phishing link.  

I don’t think it’s necessarily true either that people have grown increasingly aware of these scams – I think hackers have simply gotten better at disguising them. Therein lies the key issue: the need for more secure cybersecurity, including training workers on how better to identify bad actors, has become paramount in this new world where cyberattacks are not only becoming more prevalent, but more malicious also. 

We have only experienced sobering warnings thus far of the consequences of a coordinated attack on utility companies, but it is only a matter of time before an assault on these same companies proves to be devastating. While it is on corporations to improve their digital infrastructure to prevent an attack, it is on us as individuals to become more aware of the dangers of large-scale hacks and how we can better protect ourselves and our colleagues from them. 

In order to understand how hackers operate and disrupt systems you must look to exactly how they do this with the many types of cyberattacks they have in their arsenal.  

To read the full article, check out our June issue here.

Media contact 

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne, 

Editor, Security Portfolio 

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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