Tapping into the Electrical Grids, Russian Style

Microsoft isn’t the only company actively protecting U.S. citizens from foreign hackers. Aside from the threat to the upcoming U.S. midterm elections, which Microsoft is handling with free cybersecurity applications, there is a likely chance of cyberattacks against U.S. electrical grids. But Xage, a blockchain-protected security platform for industrial IoT, has announced a new policy manager tool they developed in order to improve the resilience of electrical grids. And because it’s predicted that by 2050, about 60% of the world’s population will live in urban communities, there will be a much larger demand for power in compact communities. Which, in short, just means there will be a higher number of people watching cat videos at a time.

The “New” Staple Crop

Technology is the lifeblood of the world. And optimizing the current electrical grids is the solution to any future foreign threats. General Electric is already working to modernize these systems with countries such as Belgium and Sri Lanka. But what’s unique about Xage is their blockchain security platform. It will help point out any intruders in the network and prevent them from being able to roam through information. If a threat is detected, then the sector it was located in can be shut down immediately in order to prevent software from spreading across the grid. Blockchain pretty much acts a flu shot for power grids, so they can have extra protection against viruses.

Attacks on Energy Infrastructure

So, what would happen if a U.S. power grid was attacked? Well, we don’t know. But the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) wants to know, so in November of 2018 they will be conducting a “hands-on” test on Plum Island, New Year. It will be a stress test which mimics an actual cyberattack against oil, natural gas, and electrical systems. Participants will have one week to analyze and rebuild the energy grid. Researchers are hoping this program will provide insight on how to create a solid plan and start designing a “backstart” recovery system in case of an emergency attack. But they could just end up recreating the show Survivor. We’ll have to wait and see.

Because the U.S. is aware of the vulnerability in the electrical grid system and the primary elections are nearing, they have been carefully watching for any threats to occur. And by “they” we mean a bunch of IT guys the government hired. Earlier in 2018, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that Russian intelligence had successfully infiltrated power plant control rooms across the U.S, but there was little to no evidence suggesting they wanted to take over the plants. Officials have since made it clear that they are taking the proper steps to heighten security and inform foreign counter-parts that it is, in fact, not cool to take over our electric grids.

Moving Forward

It’s all about teamwork. Xage has partnered with SEPA, the Smart Electrical Power Alliance, in order to increase efforts on clean, renewable energy. Microsoft is creating new tech applications for politicians. IT guys are working 24 hours a day in their mother’s basements. Russian IT guys are working 24 hours a day in their mother’s basements. Everyone is working together, even if we don’t know it.

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