Cybersecurity Concerns For New Electric Grid

Todd Moses
June 20, 2024

A cyberattack on a primary American hospital system has caused dangerous medication mix-ups.

Inputs that matter: Employees at Ascension, a Catholic healthcare system with more than 140 facilities across the country, said these patients are just some suffering from the continued fallout of a cyberattack last month.

  • The healthcare giant 'detected unusual activity' across its networks, preventing doctors and nurses from accessing vital patient care details and leaving them out of digital systems.
  • Meanwhile, a cyber incident at CDK Global, a primary software provider for dealers across the US, halted thousands of car dealerships during an ordinarily busy holiday Wednesday.

The opportunity: According to a new report, cyber security professionals' burnout, work-related stress, and fatigue are costing US enterprises $626 million in lost productivity a year and UK enterprises £130 million.

  • The report claims that a 600% rise in cyber threats since the COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress levels for those working in the cyber security sector.
  • It also cites the emergence of recent technologies and the proliferation of criminal groups as issues increasing pressure on staff.
  • Haris Pylarinos, founder and CEO of Hack The Box, says: "Cyber security professionals are at the forefront of a battle they know they are going to lose at some point; it's just a matter of time."

Zoom in: CDK's systems, which many car dealerships rely on to conduct almost all of their everyday business, first went down around 2 a.m. Eastern time, said Brad Holton, vice president of Proton, a cybersecurity firm that serves dealers and the auto industry.

  • The company "shut all systems down and executed extensive testing and consulted with external third-party experts," Tony Macrito, a CDK spokesman, said in an email.
  • "We can't access customer records, can't set certain appointments. We can't even print a repair order," said Claire Glassmire, a receptionist at Barbera's Autoland in Philadelphia.

Between the lines: Analyst firm Omdia predicts that by 2025, most network application traffic will involve AI content generation, curation, or processing.

  • By 2030, it expects nearly 75% of network traffic to incorporate AI, with rapid video and image content growth.
  • Bandwidth aside, AI imposes new requirements such as real-time response, lossless delivery, distributed east-west traffic exchange, compute intensity, and high sensitivity to data privacy.
  • By 2025, Gartner predicts AI will be the top driver for infrastructure decisions due to the maturing AI market, resulting in a tenfold growth in compute requirements.

Follow the money: Besides data networks, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang said the electric grid and the utilities managing it will play an essential role in the next industrial revolution, which will be driven by AI and accelerated computing.

  • Huang said, "The greatest impact and return is applying AI in delivering energy over the grid."
  • However, the concern is securing the electric grid as it transitions from one-way systems to distributed networks.
  • Cyberattacks on hospitals and car dealers today could soon be a major problem for electricity providers.

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