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"Across Europe, controllers watch in disbelief as electrical grids collapse. There is no power, anywhere. Surely it's a glitch. Maybe it's a malfunction. But the lights don't come back on."
-Blackout, by Marc Elsberg
The teaser for the English edition of author, Marc Elsberg's 2017 thriller about cyber-terrorism sets the stage for a scenario where a cyber-terrorist network shuts down the global power grids and plunges the world into economic disaster. The scale of the attack depicted is much larger than anything that has ever happened, however, similar attacks have already caused havoc over the last several years.Andy Greenberg has written several recent articles in Wired magazine about exploits by the Russian state-sponsored hackers – Sandworm, who disrupted the 2018 Korean Winter Olympics, targeted the French election, triggered power blackouts in Ukraine, interfered with the 2016 US election, and unleashed the NotPetya cyber-attack. Both Atlanta and Baltimore were shut down in sophisticated ransomware attacks by an Iranian group called SamSam in 2018. The increasing severity of their attacks and those of other state-sponsored groups is putting any internet-connected infrastructure at risk.
In an article published online at ASCE News, Brad Allenby and Mikhael V. Chester discuss the vulnerabilities that today's Civil Engineers should be aware of.
How have your upcoming projects adapted to provide more cyber-security against robust attacks? Are your computer networks safe from a cyber-attack which would allow hackers access to detailed plans for public infrastructure or buildings?