October 26, 2022

A Cyber Attack on Your Utility Company Can Threaten Your Business; Be Prepared


Municipal utilities are something that we widely take for granted in this country. For the most part, no one thinks about where their water or electricity comes from every day, but that would all change if you lost it suddenly. Losing power in a residential setting is an inconvenience, but losing it at a commercial level can cost thousands to millions of dollars in damage and lost revenue. There are many reasons a business can lose power, from natural disasters to stressed power grids, but the most nefarious is a cyber attack. Cyber attacks on utility providers are more common than one may think, and unlike other reasons behind power loss, they come out of nowhere and last until the attackers get what they want. A cyber threat can happen to anyone anytime, so you want to be prepared in case that day comes. 

General Cyber Attack Statistics

There are many ways that bad guys can hack a system, and ransomware is the most common in utility and medical settings. Ransomware is a cyber attack that allows hackers to take control of critical infrastructure and hold it hostage until the victim pays a ransom. Some states are weighing a ban on ransomware payoffs to prevent future incidents; however, this could lead to more significant problems and more extended outages in the interim. To put it into perspective, here are a few ransomware statistics:

  • In 2021 ransomware accounted for 27% of all cyber attacks.
  • Ransomware damages will cost companies $20 billion in 2021.
  • It is estimated that ransomware attacked a business every 11 seconds in 2021.

Energy Utilities Cyber Attack Statistics

When you look at the statistics for utilities, specifically energy companies, you can see how essential it is to have a plan in place in case your local energy provider is attacked. 

  • Utility companies in the U.S. faced 1780 cyber attacks from June to August 2021, a staggering 595% increase over 2020. 
  • It is estimated that there are as many as 30 cyber attacks on utilities daily in India. 
  • While 84% of U.S. utility companies have a cybersecurity division, the average cybersecurity budget for utilities is 10% less than other sectors. 
  • 67% of applications in the utility sector have at least one severe vulnerability.

How to Prepare

Though the idea of a utility company being taken over by hackers looking for a payout is unsettling, it does not mean you are helpless. Your company can be prepared for the unthinkable. Your first step is to identify what needs protecting in the case of sudden power loss, including inventory and data. Next, have a clear plan to respond when the power goes out, including starting backup generators as soon as possible to minimize the time your business is without power. Finally, monitor the situation and ensure that you have enough fuel for your backup generator to continue to power your business through the crisis. If you don't have a commercial backup generator for your business, now is the time to get one. Unfortunately, cyber attacks on utilities are a growing threat, and backup generators are an insurance plan against utility hacks and natural disasters. 

A Disappointing Reality

Technology has done a lot to improve our lives, but technology has some downsides, like people using it to blackmail utility companies. Cybersecurity companies worldwide are working to prevent these types of threats, but it seems like for every vulnerability the good guys find, there are two more that the bad guys exploit. Hopefully, there will be a day when these attacks are extinct, but for now, the best thing you can do is be prepared with backup generators to keep your business running no matter what challenges come your way.