Once again, Ukraine appears to have fallen victim to a hacking attack on the electricity network. As in 2015, burglars would have turned off the electricity, with the likely aim of testing their burglary techniques before a ‘real’ attack.
Last month, Ukraine was hit by a short-term power outage that lasted for about an hour. Sources tell Motherboard that this was not a technical malfunction, but an attack on the power system. Hackers allegedly broke into a substation in Pivnichna near Kiev and took the systems offline. They would have done that by turning off so-called remote terminal units. The Ukrainian authorities have already announced that they will be investigating the power outage.
According to Motherboard, the outage had little impact, and the power grid was only affected locally, and only for a short time: after an hour the network was restored. Ukrainian investigators are still investigating the incident, but according to the Ukrainian security company ISSP, the systems have been broken into by hackers. That would have been done by the same hackers who hacked the power network in 2015.
After investigation, ISSP states that the hackers were probably working on a test to try out attack techniques. This suggests that the attackers are preparing a larger attack on the power network, although there are no concrete indications for this. The intention is that the research results will be made public, although it may take some time before they are fully completed.
The damage was greater in the 2015 hack on the electricity network. Then, after an investigation, the accusing finger was pointed in the direction of Russia. Russia and Ukraine have been engaged in war for years.