Britain’s main energy sector executives were warned last month to increase their inspections of blackouts throughout the country, as significant periods of disruptions could be a signal of a cyber attack.
Although infrastructure companies are on constant alert for such attacks, fears have been raised over Russia’s ability to disrupt critical services, such as the NHS and telecom networks, following the recent air strikes in Syria.
Security services from both sides of the Atlantic issued a joint warning following the military action that Russia was targeting western internet infrastructure and offered advice as to how to help better protect themselves.
Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, a former chair of the Commons defence committee, highlighted the importance of securing the electricity network.
Arbuthnot, who now advises the Electricity Infrastructure Security Council, said: “If you take down the electricity network, you very quickly take down everything else as well,” he added: “The vulnerability is real.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said cyber security was “one of the government’s top national security priorities.”