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Home>Many Utilities Believe Cyberattacks Could Bring Down the Electric Distribution Grid in the Next Five Years, Accenture Research Finds

Many Utilities Believe Cyberattacks Could Bring Down the Electric Distribution Grid in the Next Five Years, Accenture Research Finds

Many Utilities Believe Cyberattacks Could Bring Down the Electric Distribution Grid in the Next Five Years, Accenture Research Finds

10/04/2017

Many Utilities Believe Cyberattacks Could Bring Down the Electric Distribution Grid in the Next Five Years, Accenture Research Finds

Coupled with anticipated risk to employee and customer safety and physical assets, unprepared distribution utilities must act now to improve cybersecurity capabilities

Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of utility executives believe their country faces at least a moderate risk of electricity supply interruption from a cyberattack on electric distribution grids in the next five years. This figure, included in Accenture’s (NYSE:ACN) new report, Outsmarting Grid Security Threats, part of the Digitally Enabled Grid research program, rises to 76 percent for North American utilities executives.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171003006410/en/

(Graphic: Business Wire)

(Graphic: Business Wire)

The survey of more than 100 utilities executives from over 20 countries revealed interruptions to the power supply from cyberattacks is the most serious concern, cited by 57 percent of respondents. Just as worrying is the physical threat to the distribution grid. Fifty-three percent of executives cite employee and/or customer safety and 43 percent of executives cite the destruction of physical assets as their biggest concerns.

“As highly sophisticated, weaponized malware is being developed, a greater risk to distribution businesses arises from cyber criminals and others who would use it for malicious purposes,” said Stephanie Jamison, managing director, Accenture Transmission and Distribution. “Attacks on industrial control systems could disrupt grid reliability and the safety and well-being of employees and the public. Not getting it right could be a brand killer, as well as a real threat for a country and the community.”

While the increased connectivity of industrial control systems enabled by the smart grid will drive significant benefits in the form of safety, productivity, improved quality of service and operational efficiency, 88 percent agreed that cybersecurity is a major concern in smart grid deployment. Distribution utilities are also increasingly exposed by the growth of connected Internet of Things (IoT) domestic devices, such as connected home hubs and smart appliances. These bring a new risk to distribution companies, which is hard to quantify, with 77 percent of utilities executives suggesting IoT as a potential threat to cybersecurity.

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