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Russian hackers have targeted UK energy infrastructure, NCSC says

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The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has confirmed that UK energy infrastructure has been the target of Russian hackers this year.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive at the NCSC, spoke at The Times’ Tech Summit event in central London earlier this week, referencing the growing threats posed to UK infrastructure from cyber attacks.

And within that speech he confirmed media reports from earlier this year that suggested parts of the UK energy infrastructure had already been attacked.

“I can’t get into too much of the details of intelligence matters, but I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Centre, has included attacks on the UK media, telecommunications and energy sectors.

“That is clearly a cause for concern - Russia is seeking to undermine the international system. That much is clear,” he said.

No details were provided over the nature of the attack, nor what element of infrastructure was targeted, be it generation, transmission, distribution or other.

Martin went on to say that the NCSC had made strides to ensure the country was “as secure as possible” from “substantial threats” during its first year of operation.

The organisation, which forms part of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), became operational in October last year in a merger of the Centre for Cyber Assessment, the Computer Emergency Response Team and specific teams within the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.

Earlier this month a survey carried out by EY found that disruption caused by cyber attacks was among the greatest risks to the operations of power utilities in the UK, along with weather events and the rise of distributed generation. 

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