We have created a vast grid of countless wired and wireless networks in order to connect everything to have easier access and use. With the impulse to make everything work faster and smarter, we have created a path for being vulnerable. This vast network of grids that we use on a daily basis is something we refer to as critical infrastructure – from electrical grids to financial services and telecommunication. Keeping this critical infrastructure safe and secure is of the highest importance. If security is breached, it could have serious consequences on physical safety of the people involved or even our society.
In order to explain the importance of cyber security, let us explore a couple of examples where cyber security had an impact on physical safety of people. Last year two hackers managed to hack into Jeep Cherokee and disable breaks, mess around with the steering and transmission. Luckily this was done by moral hackers trying to test the security of the vehicles, hence no accident occurred. Back in December 2015 adversaries managed to break in and defect the electrical grid in Ukraine causing a power outage that affected quarter of a million of people.
This was the first successful attack where cyber security seriously influenced the supply safety of the electrical grid. It is likely we will see similar approaches in the future where cyber activities will have serious consequences on critical physical infrastructures These security breaches are something that could occur more easily if organizations like the European Network for Cyber Security (ENCS) would not exist. ENCS, based in The Hague, the Netherlands, is actively working together with its members and partners, to ensure that electric grids, smart metering, electric cars are secure in their use.