Two cyber security companies have come forward with new information regarding the cause of the December 2016 cyber attack that cut power in Ukraine and temporarily left thousands of people without access to electricity. According to the two firms, ESET and Dragos Inc., a sophisticated piece of malware known as Crash Override or Industroyer was likely responsible for the Ukraine blackout and could potentially be used again to take down vulnerable power grids around the world.
According to Dragos founder Robert M. Lee, the Industroyer malware has the ability to cause blackouts for up to a few days at a time in specific regions of a country, but it isn’t strong enough to bring down the entire grid at once. In a recent interview, Lee advised government authorities and power companies on how they can defend themselves against the threat that Industroyer poses. Even though the malicious software is capable of attacking power operators all across Europe, Lee said that it could be used against the United States “with small modifications.”
In their Internet blog on WeLiveSecurity.com, the ESET researchers who discovered the malware explained that “Industroyer’s dangerousness lies in the fact that it uses protocols in a way they were designed to be used.”
The researchers went on to write, “The problem is that these protocols were designed decades ago, and back then industrial systems were meant to be isolated from the outside world. Thus, their communication protocols were not designed with security in mind. That means that the attackers didn’t need to be looking for protocol vulnerabilities; all they needed was to teach the malware ‘to speak’ those protocols.”
But Industroyer isn’t the first piece of malware that has been discovered that is capable of disrupting industrial processes. In 2010, researchers discovered Stuxnet, a piece of malicious software that many believe has been used by the United Sates and Israel against Iran’s nuclear program.
By this point, there should be no debate over the fact that the next World War will be radically different than the previous two, and in more ways than one. The rapid advancement in technology that the world has witnessed over the past few decades will inevitably mean more drones and robots out on the battlefield instead of actual human beings. Furthermore, the use of cyber warfare will no doubt play a significant role in World War III, and the hacking of power grids much like the one Ukraine experienced in 2016 will become commonplace. (Related: Security expert admits that the antivirus industry is unable to address emerging security threats)
Although cyber security experts have said that the United States is well prepared in the event that a foreign enemy attempts to take down our power grid, there’s still a chance that it can happen, especially as hacking organizations and terrorist groups continue to develop new software and technology. This is why it is absolutely vital that Americans prepare themselves for the worst, and take the steps necessary to ensure that they will be able to survive following the collapse of our society.
If America’s electrical grid ever goes down, whether it is the result of an EMP strike or cyber warfare, survivalists need to know how to generate power using more unconventional methods such as solar and wind power. Furthermore, if a piece of malware like Industroyer is ever used as a weapon against the United States and millions of Americans find themselves without power, then virtually every aspect of their lives is going to change, from meal preparation to transportation. This is why it is a good idea to prep early. Stock up on food or learn to grow your own, make sure you have a system in place so that you can purify your own water, and always have an escape route so that you can make a quick getaway from the initial chaos of a collapsing society.