Cybersecurity Threats to Utilities (and how to Protect Against Them)

Learn about the looming cybersecurity threats to the utilities industry and how to protect against them.

The utilities industry is uniquely vulnerable to many increasing cybersecurity threats, from nation-state attackers to weaknesses in their own infrastructure. To best prevent, detect, and recover from cyber attacks, utilities providers simply can’t wait for downtime or disaster to strike before assessing and strengthening their cybersecurity strategies.

Cybersecurity risk for Utilities: A Growing Number of Cyber Attacks and Attackers

Cybersecurity Threats to UtilitiesThe Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently warned utilities providers of the potential for new foreign cyberattacks on many critical infrastructure sectors, including utilities. Malware like NotPetya and WannaCry has already been attributed to nation-state hackers in recent years.

In particular, Industrial Control System (ICS) ransomware is more prevalent than ever. In 2019, the Norwegian aluminum manufacturer Norsk Hydro lost $35-41 million USD due to an ICS ransomware attack. In 2020, both Ryuk ransomware and Snake ransomware did significant damage.

Cyber attacks aren’t always external either. Data breach statistics show that 63% of successful attacks come from internal sources like undetected errors, unauthorized changes to control systems, or fraud.

How Utilities can Protect Against Cyber Attacks and Attackers

Internal and external attacks can happen to any organization. What can the utilities industry do to prevent and detect both internal and external attacks as quickly as possible? A version control and automatic backup software that supports both IT and OT can help utilities organizations save time and effort, all while securing their infrastructures against attack.

versiondog does just that. versiondog monitors who changed what, when, where, and why. This prevents errors and provides users with a thorough change history for every device. If versiondog detects a difference between the version running on the device and the version stored on the versiondog server, it sends a notification to approved users. versiondog also allows users to compare versions quickly and graphically, so that they can easily determine which version is the correct one.

Cybersecurity risk for Utilities: An Increasing Level of Connectivity

Cybersecurity Threats to EnergyWith an increase in smart devices, smart grids, and industrial IoT connected devices, the utilities industry also has increased the size of their potential attack surface. Without proper OT cybersecurity measures, utilities organizations are vulnerable to cyber attack even if only one connected device is improperly configured. The traditional IT cybersecurity methods of restricting data access and firewalls just don’t cut it with Industry 4.0.

Due to their dispersed nature, utilities organizations often find their OT data in particular difficult to manage and control. They tend to struggle to manage both the overwhelming quantity of data and the time-consuming nature of data management tasks for connected devices.

How Utilities can Protect Connected Devices

Utilities providers need to employ solutions that help them simplify data management for their automated devices. For example, versiondog allows utilities to use a single strategy to safeguard their project data centrally. With the combination of version control and automatic backups, users can spend less time on mundane data management tasks and more time on the important things.

Cybersecurity risk for Utilities: Aging Devices

Many utilities providers still use legacy SCADA systems to control large parts of their infrastructure, exposing them to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Even in cases where cybersecurity is less of a concern, aging devices pose a maintenance risk. Unplanned maintenance can lead to stressful and costly outages if utilities providers aren’t prepared with recent backups.

How Utilities can Protect Against Aging Devices

versiondog provides automatic backups for a wide variety of devices, including SCADA systems, ensuring utilities organizations always have a recent, error-free version to restore in the event of error, unplanned maintenance, or malicious cyber attack. versiondog can even be used with non-networked and remote devices.

versiondog for the Utilities Industry

versiondog logoDon’t wait for downtime or disaster to strike. Let versiondog, a fast and reliable version control and automatic backup software, help you prepare for cyber attacks or threats before they happen and react faster when they do. Learn more about versiondog for the utilities industry here or email us at with questions.

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