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Details of Attack on Electric Utility Emerge

The March 5 DDoS attack interrupted communications between generating facilities and the electrical grid in three western states.

For the first time, a malware attack is known to have caused service disruptions of the power grid in three states. The March 5 distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against a Salt Lake City-based renewable energy developer triggered communications outages over the course of 12 hours that affected electric utilities in Utah, Wyoming, and California.

The event, triggered by a DDOS attack against sPower — which claims to be the biggest private solar power operator in the United States — temporarily cut grid visibility to roughly 500 megawatts of generating capacity from a dozen solar and wind-power sites.

An unpatched vulnerability in sPower's Cisco firewalls was the target of the attack, which, although affecting communications within the grid, did not cause service interruptions to any customers.

For more, read here, here, and here.

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