Wired reports on a case of hackers accessing the software network of Schneider Electric owned Telvent. It appears so far that the breach began at Telvent’s corporate network though the company conceded that the breach “has affected some customer files.”
Telvent sells industrial control systems for the smart grid and the attackers installed malicious software on the network and accessed the SCADA system. The software controls the distribution of electricity as well as communication between various smart grid technologies for Telvent’s clients. Telvent’s systems are not limited to the smart grid and are used heavily in oil and gas pipelines, and some water system networks.
Telvent quickly struck a partnership with Industrial Defender, a cybersecurity firm, which will integrate its security software into Telvent’s corporate network. It does not appear so far that any actual consumer facing services were brought down but the Wired article points out that one way to impact a network is to covertly alter project files that are then passed on to Telvent’s large systems customers, later wreaking havoc. While a lot of concern has been raised about security on the electrical grid, born of fear of a cyber terrorist attack, it’s becoming clear that security software is going to become a real utility expense. And is one further sign that utilities are becoming IT companies.