OSGP Alliance presents the outcome of a survey on the top concerns for cyber-attack on the smart grid - released in May 2021.

Cyber-security of the smart grid is an increasing concern for DSOs. Before the smart grid became smart, the cyber-criminals had no means of attacking it. Smarter grids improve automation, monitoring, management and maintenance of the energy grid, to reduce fraud and theft, reduce energy losses, introduce green and locally produced energy and increase sustainability. The technology enabling allows cyber-criminals to damage this critical energy transformation.

Based on this survey, concerns of outages are by far the most significant issue; energy infrastructure is a critical resource, and denial of access to energy, even for a few hours, can have significant consequences. It is not just about convenience – it is also about health and safety and efficiency of businesses relying on the energy supply. Reliability is becoming a regulatory requirement for DSOs with SAIDI and SAIFI (System Average Interruption Duration/Frequency Index) becoming regulated KPIs. This, in addition to the reputational damage suffered by a DSO due to outages, is cause for concern.

Second place is the tampering of data or systems. If we focus on the billing information, the issue here is about fairness of supply to all. If cyber-criminals can subvert the billing activities, the DSO is damaged, and the consequence is often to compensate through increased prices for all. Just like in insurance fraud, far from being a victimless crime, it is everybody that pays the cost. Tampering with operational and service quality information damages the overall efficiency in our energy supply and can result in increased energy wastage.

It is interesting that exposure to ransom is still low. This is the typical outcome of an attack by organised crime. It is often the hostile nation state or terrorist motivated attacks which aim at outage and have the resources to do so. Recently, there has been a significant up-surge in attacks motivated by financial gain through ransom demands, some of which have resulted in energy availability or increased cost to the consumer.

Download the full report here: