In lieu to the 2018 cyber analysts’ predictions, the globe is experiencing an increase in cyber-attacks especially on utilities and public infrastructure. The attacks targeted at utilities such as the electrical grid continue to increase this is because most of our societies depend on electricity for light and energy. Multi-billion businesses, billion dollar transportation systems as well as multi-million dollar manufacturing equipment all depend on high levels of electricity to function. We notice here that the world’s dependency on electricity is almost comparable to its need for fresh water and air. Public infrastructure practices have also evolved to the point where communication and data processing depends on computing software, applications and internet which depend also on the electric grid system.
An example of a vulnerable electric grid system is that of the US. It is quite complicated in assemblage and requires 200,000miles of high electric voltage transmission to power an estimate 3,300 utilities. On average, 55,000 substations are responsible for transmitting electric voltage across customer distribution lines within 5 million miles coverage.
Why the attack on utilities and public infrastructure?
The electric system being complex in nature is one vulnerable to cyber-attacks as consumption spheres rise thus increasing its public coverage. Cyber criminals continue to target surface circles such as the increase in global automation, information technology and operation technology convergence. Such distribution utilities are quite complex and come in various multiple sizes to corporate models. Recently, the Ukraine was faced with an attack across its distribution system. This only shows how distribution systems are a suitable target for cyber-crime. Dire consequences will arise if the global distribution systems are not protected from possible cyber-attacks which are already wide spread. Once an attack on utilities and public infrastructure proves successful, it can cripple large economies as well as small ones. The mass population will suffer through experiencing substandard health and safety, power disruption and rise in the cost of fuel- energy supplies.
Let’s all work at achieving global vigilance and Cyber security
The above observations expose the individualistic nature in cyber-attacks. Many distribution systems that serve billions of people are at risk of shutting down every time a cyber-attack is launched. Hackers and cyber criminals are just a fraction of the billions of people not forgetting that they also depend on the public infrastructure and distribution system utilities. Global vigilance against the workers of mass cyber-attacks must be launched; individuals should express a sense of responsibility towards the preservation and protection of distribution systems and public infrastructure. Global governments and enterprises are expected to achieve high level cyber security automation for the sake of the populations which depend on their services.
AI, Artificial Intelligence and ML, Machine Learning are some of the best ways to achieve the goals above. Both technologies can be integrated into mobile devices and computers for cyber security to the individual. Enterprises can also automate their machines and operating systems to AI and ML for the purpose of high level security.