Europe's power grid hit with denial-of-service cyber attack

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50Hertz, a German power utility, was hit with a cyber attack that crippled its communications capability about two weeks ago. Despite the attack, the flow of electricity across the grid was not interrupted, according to reports.

The cyber invasion, which lasted five days, was a denial of service attack accompanied by a botnet.

DOS attacks involve thousands of requests being sent to a server each second to clog up a system's functioning. A botnet is a cluster of networked computers whose security defenses have been breached and taken over by a third party.

The attack blocked 50Hertz's internet domains, according to reports, shutting off email and internet connectivity.

The European Network of Transmission Systems for Electricity (ENTSO-E) is communicating with the European Commission about potential cyber-threats against Europe's transmission grids.

The people behind the attack are still unknown to investigators, but their IP addresses have been traced to Russia and Ukraine. This fact, however, does not necessarily mean the hackers were based in either country, and could be a measure to further disguise the attackers' location and identity.

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POWERGRID International

March 2014
Volume 19, Issue 3
1403PG-cover

ELECTRIC LIGHT & POWER

January 2014
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