Over the last two months, the world has been subject to two major ransomware attacks. The most recent being an attack known as ‘Petya,’ a malicious software that spread through large firms that led to PC’s and essential data being locked up and held for ransom. Prior to this incident, the ‘Wannacry’ ransomware locked data from nearly 230,000 computers used by leading international organizations in at least 150 countries, including the UK’s National Health Service, Russian Ministry of Interiors, and FedEx. These attacks, once again, brought to forefront the significance of cyber security at a time when cyber-crime has evolved into a growth industry with low risks and high returns.
In light of this event, Networked Energy Services Corporation (NES), a global smart grid market player with the Patagonia Energy Applications Platform (EAP ), has thrown the spotlight on the critical role of security in Smart Grids. The connected infrastructures in power grids such as intelligent networks, smart meters, and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions have increased the possibility of cyber threats in the energy sector. In line with this, the company has urged the community, individuals, organisations and utility providers alike to be prepared to deal with cyberattacks for national security and economic well-being. Utility providers in the UAE such as Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority are stepping up their efforts to ensure security in their grids from such attacks with the installation of smart meters, which is currently underway across the country in a bid to complete over one million smart meters by 2020.
Michel Madi, CEO – Middle East, Africa and India, Networked Energy Services Corporation, said: “Smart Grids are not just electrical infrastructure but are huge data networks that are critical for the seamless functioning of the various economic sectors of a country. It has now become imperative for key sectors, particularly energy, to ensure the implementation of the latest security solutions to secure Smart Grids and avert risks. The UAE is one of the leading countries in the region on track in safeguarding their services as the country’s smart metering market looks to increase at a rate of 9 per cent over 2016 to 2024 in line with its Energy Plan 2050.”