An insider view of a cybersecurity training workshop for employees of Europe’s transmission system operators.

After the hackers had stealthily accessed the SCADA system and blew the transformer with a loud bang, the defenceless employees had no option but to remove the control plugs and manually turn the machine back on.

“That’s what they had to do in Ukraine,” said Michael John, Director of Operations at the European Network for Cybersecurity (ENCS), referring to the world’s first confirmed power plant hack: the 2015 attack in which about 30 Ukrainian substations were taken offline and roughly 230,000 people were left without power in wintry December weather.

“In a real scenario,” John continued, “workers would then need to drive to each substation and repeat the procedure, perhaps in the dark or in bad weather, which could take hours.”

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Source: Power Engineering International