The world’s power plants and transmission lines are more networked to each other and controlled via the Internet than ever before. And in that, Wall Street sees a business opportunity.
Fundraising by cyber-security companies focused on the industrial sector rose to almost $700 million last year from just $5 million in 2010, according to the BNEF analysis of financing data from CB Insights. By one cyber-security firm’s count, at least one threat to industrial operations occurs somewhere in the world every day. The U.S. Energy Department warned in a report last year that the electricity system “faces imminent danger” from cyber-attacks, and hackers were said to have breached at least a dozen U.S. power plants.
The biggest challenge for grid operators and utilities, she said, may be coming up with monitoring software that better alerts them to security threats. In its report, BNEF recommends that utilities identify vulnerabilities, deploy safeguards and constant supervision; and be ready for damage control after a cyber-attack.
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