Serbia’s government-controlled power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije has been the “target of an unprecedented hacker attack.” However, measures have been taken, and the power system and data are not endangered.
Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) is the third energy company in the region of Southeast Europe to be faced with a cyber attack or threat of a cyber attack over the last 16 months. Slovenia’s Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE) was in a similar situation at the end of November, while Montenegro’s Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) faced cyber threats in August last year.
EPS is recovering from an unprecedented crypto virus attack, which didn’t endanger the production, nor the supply of electricity, and all electricity trade activities went smoothly and in line with the company’s commitments, EPS said in a press release.
All protective measures have been taken to safeguard the system and protect data security.
For security reasons, the IT systems have been put out of operation until the experts are completely sure that the virus has been eliminated, the company stressed.
EPS has asked users of its bill payment portal for patience, since the operation of the website has been hampered as a result of the protective measures. The competent state authorities have been informed about the cyber attack and are taking appropriate measures, the company said.
Svete: HSE was the target of a classic hacker attack
At the end of November Slovenia’s HSE announced that it had successfully overcome the hacking of its information system.
HSE CEO Tomaž Štokelj stated that the power company had been in control of all power plants at all times.
Electricity trading was not interrupted, but as a precautionary measure we slightly limited the execution of individual transactions, he explained, and added that he doesn’t expect the incident to affect the security of the system or the company’s operations.
According to Uroš Svete, head of the Government Information Security Office, the attack was carried out by a crypto virus, which locks files. Everything indicates, in his words, that this was a classic cyber attack from outside, asadria reported.
HSE manages the Šoštanj coal power plant and the hydropower plants on the Drava, Sava and Soča rivers, which together provide about 60% of the country’s electricity.
Đukanović: EPCG avoided the attack
At the end of August, Montenegro’s power utility EPCG was also forced to take measures after the National Security Agency had learned that it could be the target of an ongoing attack. The Government of Montenegro and a number of state institutions were affected by the attack.
EPCG switched to manual management of power plants, and decided that some of the user services would be temporarily unavailable, to prevent damage to the system, according to Milutin Đukanović, Chairman of the Board of Directors of EPCG.