- Customizable malware known as Industroyer was likely at the root of a cyberattack that caused an hour-long blackout in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in late 2016, according to new information released by researchers from ESET on Monday.
- The malware, allegedly deployed by "Russian-aligned hackers," is capable of controlling electricity substation switches and circuit breakers, according to ZDNet.
- Industroyer is capable of harming electric power systems and other types of critical infrastructure in any country, according to ESET researchers.
The discovery of Industroyer has many concerned. Cybercriminals have become increasingly brazen in recent months, launching massive botnet attacks as well as ransomware such as WannaCry that have affected computer users around the globe. But malware that can take out electrical systems or other critical infrastructure is another story.
It goes without saying that there needs to be more diligence around protecting critical infrastructure. Too often, companies rely on air-gapped infrastructure or high security protocols to ensure safety. The problem with that approach, is malicious actors see critical infrastructure as prime targets. If motivated, attackers could launch disruptive, inhibitive and potentially damaging cyberattacks impacting everyone, from average citizens to government agencies.
What the researchers made clear is that the attack against Ukraine was likely a test. Meaning, a longer lasting and damaging attack could be around the corner. It's not all doomsday scenarios, however. Once researchers are aware of exactly what type of malware is behind an attack, they can work with security communities to try and ensure critical infrastructure is protected.