First power station knocked offline by hackers is harbinger of cyber-warfare future

A power outage in western Ukraine on 23 December 2015 was the result of a cyberattack, the country's energy ministry has confirmed. Cybersecurity researchers at ESET believe it to be the first-known instance of power stations being disabled by hackers.

The incident left homes in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine without electricity for several hours in December 2015. The malware used to carry out the attacks is believed to be the BlackEnergy Trojan, first developed in 2007 to carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. It has since been upgraded to carry out more sophisticated tasks, such as cyber-espionage.

"We found out that the attackers have been using a malware family on which we have had our eye for quite some time now: BlackEnergy," researchers from antivirus firm ESET wrote in a blogpost.