Ukraine Power Company Confirms: Cyberattack Caused Last Month’s Outage

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A power outage that occurred in northern Kiev in late December 2016 was the result of a cyberattack on critical systems providing heat and lights to millions, investigators hired by utility company Ukrenergo have determined.

According to a report from Reuters, the blackout, which took place in the Ukrainian capital on Dec. 17-18, was influenced by “a premeditated and multilevel invasion,” Ukrenergo said.

While an exact penetration point and full spectrum of compromised workstations/accounts have yet to be determined, cybersecurity researchers at Honeywell, who assisted in the investigation, believe hackers breached Ukrenergo’s IT network and began usurping privileges and controls over six months ago.

The infiltration of the workstations and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems at 330-kilowatt substation “North” are believed to be part of a wider, but ultimately unsuccessful effort to install malware and exfiltrate credentials.

No individual, group or country has claimed responsibility or been accused of the attack.

The complete report by Pavel Polityuk, Oleg Vukmanovic and Stephen Jewkes can be viewed on Reuters.com.