Energy cyber concerns are real, report reveals hacks
It was reported this week that cyber attackers compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems over 150 times between 2010 and 2014. The information came from a review of federal records and confirms what many of us have long feared was the case, that the cyber attacks against our energy infrastructure are a reality and could be potentially devastating.
USA Today, with the help of various reporters across the country, obtained access to federal energy records and found that nearly every four days, part of the nation’s power grid is struck by a cyber or physical attack, potentially leaving millions in the dark. The records obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act, confirm the vulnerability of such an attack on our critical energy infrastructure.
The Department of Energy reported a total of 1,131 cyber attacks over a 48-month period ending in October 2014, for which 159 of the attempted cyber intrusions were successful. The regularity at which the grids and transformers were attacked are astounding, and increasing; these attackers know the systems and have learned when to focus their strikes.
With the frequency in which our grids are being hit with breaches you should be having serious conversations with your insurance broker about this exposure. Here are some things to think about when discussing:
- If you buy terrorism coverage and a cyber attack is deemed a terrorist act, is there coverage or does the cyber exclusion apply?
- Should all Independent Power Producers buy cyber coverage with terrorism included to cover their contingent Business interruption exposure?
If these are concerns you have regarding your business, please contact the Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Practice Leader at Gallagher WGA, Charlie Long at 617-646-0251.
About the Author
Charlie Long is a Client Executive and leader of the Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Practice at Gallagher WGA. He works with independent power developers, owner operators and manufacturers in the business of power generation.