A recent cyber-attack on the UK’s energy system was thwarted after numerous targeted attempts on IT infrastructure responsible for powering the country’s electricity market.
Elexon, the administrator of the power system, provided confirmation that it was affected by a cyber-attack on Thursday 14th May 2020. The company stated that key systems used to govern the electricity market were not impacted by the attack.
Currently, the National Grid is carrying out its own investigations to determine whether this attack could have an impact on the business division which is responsible for keeping electricity flowing.
A representative for the energy system operator has stated that electricity supplies were not affected by the incident and that there are “robust cybersecurity measures in place” to ensure the UK can continue to receive the required electricity it needs moving forwards. Fortunately, both domestic and business energy customers were unaffected.
“We’re aware of a cyber intrusion on Elexon’s internal IT systems. We’re investigating the matter and any potential impact on our own IT networks,” said the company representative.
Elexon plays a significantly important role in the UK electricity market. The company looks at data surrounding electricity generation from individual energy companies which is then matched with what the National Grid expects to receive. The information is used to ensure that generators are paid in accordance with how much electricity they generate.
Elexon believes it has “identified the root cause of a cyber-attack” and was “working to resolve the issue”. Furthermore, the company adds that none of its employees were able to access email services on Thursday due to the incident mentioned above.
This attack took place a number of days after the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recognised a growing number of “malicious cyber actors” were taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic. These actors have their own nefarious objectives, hence the attempted exploits taking place.
First Secretary of State, Dominic Raab, has criticised the perpetrators after the recent attempts to target global health and scientific experts, hospitals and healthcare systems. He has made a commitment to work alongside the UK’s allies to “hold the perpetrators to account and deter further malicious cyber activity around the world”.
In other related news, Interserve and BAM Construct who were part of the process in designing and building emergency coronavirus hospitals said that they too were targeted by cyber criminals in the month of May. Interserve helped build Birmingham’s NHS Nightingale hospital and BAM Construct helped build hospitals in Yorkshire.
It isn’t just the UK who has been targeted either. A number of countries around the world have reported that their research and testing laboratories looking to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 have also experienced attempted cyber-attacks.