Increased UK Power Cuts

A crucial part of the UK’s power grid network has been the victim of a cyberattack. Elexon, a key middle man in the grid’s system, confirmed that it experienced the attack during the incident on May 14th, 2020.

Cyber Attack Highlights UK Power Grid Vulnerabilities

In a PR release posted on its website, Elexon said: “We are advising you that today that ELEXON’s internal IT systems have been impacted by a cyber attack. BSC Central Systems and EMR are currently unaffected and working as normal.

“The attack is to our internal IT systems and ELEXON’s laptops only. We are currently working hard to resolve this. However please be aware that at the moment we are unable to send or receive any emails.

According to further messages released later in the day, Elexon confirmed that the hack didn’t impact the UK’s electricity transit systems. It also said that it had found the cause of the problem and was working hard to repair the changes to its internal network..

UK Power Grid Cyber Attack

 

The nature of the attack is unknown, but it’s suspected that the attack was ransomware-related. This is due to the considerable damage it caused in such a small amount of time.

Although the incident only affected Elexon’s internal network, it caused significant stress to the company and its employees. Among the many affected areas, workers couldn’t interact effectively as the company’s email server was taken down.

The National Grid stated that BSC central systems and EMR were unaffected. As a result, electricity supplies were stable during the incident, and homes or businesses did not report any difficulties.


Where was the Vulnerability?

 

A scan by Bad Pockets, a threat intelligence business, found that Elexon was operating with outdated software as recently as March 2020. The software in question relates to the firm’s SSL VPN server, and it lets workers use networks throughout the internet.

While it’s difficult to be certain until Elexon releases the exact reason for the attack, the breach has recently been used to target several big businesses without outdated computer programs. A UK-based security researcher, Kevin Beaumont, warned about REvil ransomware as early as January 2020.


The Problem

 

Elexon is the company that deals with the payments between the businesses that generator energy and the National Grid ESO. Using a complicated and extremely advanced mechanism, it monitors how much power is generated and delivered to the grid. As a result, it determines how much energy generators are paid.

As well as the payment process, Elexon takes care of Electricity Market Reform (EMR). As such, it’s a major player in keeping the power supply in the UK balanced and is a vital part of the market.

And, Elexon isn’t the only government contractor that is experiencing attacks. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly emboldened, according to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre. The NCSC has already recognised an increase in the number of attacks this year, as well as 2019.

Addressing the incident, and others relating to Nightingale hospitals, Dominic Raab, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, promised to “hold the perpetrators to account and deter further malicious cyber activity around the world.”

Many home and business owners will be fearful that such an influential cog in the machine was easily hacked due to a suspected internal error. And, while the power supply wasn’t affected this time, this doesn’t mean the public won’t be worried about the events.

The National Grid itself is currently investigating whether cyber attacks have the ability to leave Britain in the dark after a huge blackout in August 2019 and many more near misses. For families and entrepreneurs, the idea of not being able to turn on the lights is uncomfortable.

Electricity is a major component in providing food and warmth in homes, whereas companies rely on it to make money. Therefore, you may want to consider potential backup plans in case more hacks occur in the future.

The only way to ensure you can operate when the power from the national grid drops is by having a backup power solution in place, diesel generator direct is a one-stop-shop for power solutions of all sizes, get in touch with us to find the perfect backup generator solution for your requirements.