The utilities industry is under continuous and persistent threat. The Ukraine attack was a wake-up call for many utilities who would not have considered something as improbable as a serial-to-Ethernet gateway vulnerability to be one of the key factors in allowing hackers to turn-off power to more than 230,000 Ukrainian residents. The E-ISAC’s detailed analysis of the attack shows how existing SCADA and communications processes were used to compromise systems. As we learn more about the CrashOverride Malware at the heart of this attack, the importance of proactive protection becomes evident. The WannaCry cryptoworm ransomware attack underscored again the importance of updating and patching systems (Microsoft has published guidance for WannaCry), and just days ago, U.S. Power Firms were the target of attacks which, while not fully analyzed yet, show signs of credential harvesting in order to compromise power facilities including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas. If passive defense is no longer sufficient, how can customers actively protect themselves and their systems?
Microsoft is deeply aware of the importance of cybersecurity for companies supporting the electric grid and is committed to helping partners and customers secure their nations’ most critical of critical infrastructure. In furtherance of this commitment, we are announcing a cyber program: “Microsoft Azure Certified Elite Partner Program for Cyber Analytics in Power and Utilities”. Microsoft has invested deeply in tools, analytics, cyber intelligence, and services for our own Cloud, and we believe it is imperative we engage customers to put these capabilities to work for them as well. While we are beginning this program in the U.S., there are plans to quickly expand worldwide.