For the second time in as many years, security researchers have determined that hackers have caused a power outage in Ukraine that left customers without electricity in late December, typically one of the coldest months in that country.
The researchers’ conclusion, reported by news outlets including Dark Reading, Motherboard, and the BBC, signals yet another troubling escalation in the hacking arena. A December 2015 attack that caused 225,000 Ukrainians to lose electricity was the first known instance of someone using malware to generate a real-world power outage. Ukrainian officials have pinned the attack on the Russian government, a claim that’s consistent with some evidence collected by private security firms.
Now, researchers say a second power outage that struck Ukraine in mid-December was also the result of a computer intrusion and bears many of the same technical hallmarks as the first one. It was part of a series of malicious hacks that have recently targeted key Ukrainian infrastructure, including the country’s rail system server, several government ministries, and a national pension fund. The attacks started on December 6 and lasted through December 20. The December 17 power outage was the result of an attack at the Pivnichna substation outside Kiev that began shortly before midnight. It lasted for about an hour.
Source: Ars Technica – Technology