Government hackers like to target energy companies because power outages can cause immediate chaos across wide areas.
There are plenty of reasons to be worried about the security of power grids too. In 2016 — the last year for which data is available — the energy sector topped the table in terms of vulnerabilities dealt with by the US Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Readiness Team, now part of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center(NCCIC).
Such attacks aren’t just theoretical. Most notably, over Christmas 2015 Ukrainian households were hit by power cuts after a series of hacking attacks on three local power companies. Russia was blamed for the sophisticated attacks, which started with phishing emails.
Cyberwarfare escalation just took a new and dangerous turn