Malware has now been designed to shut down electric grids. It is currently capable of taking down European grids, parts of the Middle East and Asia grids. This malware is targeting certain control system networks used to operate the grids.

This vengeful code is capable of directly controlling electricity substation switches and circuit breakers and could possibly be used to turn off power distribution or to physically damage equipment used in the electricity distribution grid, according to researchers at ESET. Automatic malware that attacks the electric grid is dangerous.  Think of the danger that malware could cause if it automatically trips breakers in a power system that keep the electrical lines from being overloaded.  If only ONE breaker is tripped, the load is pushed to another portion of the power grid, if enough breakers are tripped, it could create a domino effect that would overload the whole system. It could take days to restart all the plants.

Researchers say two major things stand out about the malware, called Crashoverride or Win32/Idustroyer, it’s an much easier to use than previous programs and it wasn’t actually made  to do any real damage, meaning whoever’s behind these attacks might simply have been testing the waters. U.S. power providers are “properly alarmed,” according to Sue Kelly, president and CEO of the American Public Power Association.

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