A recent cyber-attack in Ukraine which left 80,000 Ukrainians without power has the United States looking at the damage as a chance to preemptively prepare for a similar domestic incident. The attack, which cut the Ukrainian power grid and could result in a multi-billion dollar loss for the country according to Reuters, is one of the rare times that hackers have been able to inflict physical damage and go beyond the typical data theft. Security experts believe that a similar attack in the U.S. could be catastrophic, with upwards of $200 billion in potential damage.
These attacks are possible due to an increasing usage in computer technology from plants that is also internet accessible. Hackers can both infiltrate and shut down these files from afar, though the infrequency shows how difficult of a task it is to remotely take control of plants. U.S. Utilities are trying to determine if their insurance would cover such an attack and if not, whether proper insurance would be worth procuring. Cyber insurance on this scale is difficult to come by, and until it becomes more easily accessible, wide-scale attacks of this nature would be challenging to deal with.