Online security woes threaten power grids, MIT confirms
Recent news of online security threats targeting U.S. electrical grids have concerned many in recent weeks, but these events may be just the tip of the iceberg, according to MIT researchers.
Last month, a network breach at an Illinois water treatment facility shook the cybersecurity community. Emerging reports of a similarly successful attack at a South Houston water company and weak administrator password protection did little to quell concerns.
"The risk of a Stuxnet-like attack on utilities was dismissed by many security experts after revelations that reports of a successful attack on the Illinois water utility hack were mistakes - the possibility that it is possible was not," explained IT World contributor Kevin Fogarty.
According to a new research report commissioned by MIT, lax regulation and enforcement may be the leading contributors to power grid vulnerabilities. The continued lack of a singular agency responsible and accountable for the security of U.S. utilities infrastructure has resulted in fragmented and ineffective security management.
To strengthen online security defenses and continue to provide crucial services, MIT researchers have called for the establishment of one organization that will spearhead the review of current policies and practices and work to patch identified vulnerabilities.