Two U.S. power plants fall victim to viruses

cybersecurity Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team ICS-CERT

Two unnamed U.S. power plants fell victim to a cyber attack after viruses and malware were found on computers in the plants. Both incidents were reported in a newsletter from the U.S. Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, a section of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The first incident was discovered when an employee was having trouble with his USB drive and asked an IT person to take a look. The IT workers inserted the drive into a computer with up-to-date antivirus software and the software made three positive hits, two for common malware and one for a sophisticated virus.

Several more computers were inspected, and two came up positive for the sophisticated malware. The two computers had no backup, and a failed cleanup would have impaired their operations, the newsletter said.

The report did not say if the computers did or did not have up-to-date antivirus software, but it did say that current software would have found the malware.

“While the implementation of an antivirus solution presents some challenges in a control system environment, it could have been effective in identifying both the common and the sophisticated malware discovered on the USB drive and the engineering workstations,” the newsletter said.

In early October 2012, another power company reported ten computers that were infected with a virus after a worker unknowingly used an infected USB drive to upload software updates during a scheduled outage for equipment upgrades. The computers were part of the plant’s turbine control system, and the infection delayed the restart of the plant by three weeks.

ICS-CERT says plant owners and operators should “develop and implement baseline security policies for maintaining up-to-date antivirus definitions.”

Read more safety and protection news

Sponsored by FLSmidth
Recommend this article Recommend this article () You recommended this article You recommended this article ()
Follow Power Engineering on Twitter

Products Showcase

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Latest News

Shutterstock coal production trucks

Weekly Coal Production

The Weekly Coal Production shows how much coal is being produced across the U.S.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Weekly Economic Indicators financial business

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Economic Indicators

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas offers a glimpse into how the markets are doing domestical...

Kvaerner awarded contract for gas-fired power plant in Delaware

Kvaerner North American Construction Inc. and its joint venture partner, Parsons Brinckerhoff...

Canadian Solar purchases two solar projects

Canadian Solar Inc. has acquired a majority interest in two utility-scale solar power project...

Operators Restart Unit 2 at PPL Susquehanna

Unit 2 at the PPL Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick, Pa. resumed generating electr...

Settlement agreement limits cost recovery at Edwardsport

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on Dec. 27 modified and approved a settlemen...

Toshiba in talks to sell portion of Westinghouse nuclear unit

Toshiba Corp is in talks  to sell up to 16% of its stake in the Westinghouse Electric Co...

Utah nixes nuclear waste storage facility

Plans to park radioactive waste at a storage facility in Utah have been officially called off.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Current Issue

Volume 118, Issue 3

Buyers Guide Product Listings

HIRDA II® Deep Anode System

Corrpro revolutionized the cathodic protection ...

Fire Protection Tanks

Precision RTP (rolled, tapered panel design) is...

PCA Plus

PCA Plus utilizes a green chemistry to minimize...


With Strikesorb 40 or Strikesorb 80 technology ...

Buyers Guide Company Listings

Hadek Protective Systems Inc

Hadek Protective Systems is a worldwide distributor of Pennguard lining systems for the internal protection of power plant chimneys and flue gas ducts.

Southwest Microwave Inc

Leading manufacturer of exterior perimeter intrusion detection systems for the protection of electric, gas, water utility sites, and other vital resources worldwide.


Alden performs tests and studies on fish protection systems, industrial gas flow systems, power plant hydraulics concerns and other fluid dynamics studies aimed at regulatory approval. NIST traceable flowmeter calibration.

Associated Fire Protection

Special hazard fire protection contractor, providing system sales, installation, design and service for all types of fire protection systems including fire alarms, fire suppression, fire sprinklers and mass notification systems.

Power Industry Wire News

Pulstar Launches New Website

Pulstar Launches New Website

XZERES to Present at the 2014 Gateway Conference on September 4

XZERES to Present at the 2014 Gateway Conference on September 4

Algeco Scotsman Appoints Rick Bennett as Vice President and General Manager of Remote Accommodations Division in Canada and Alaska

Algeco Scotsman Appoints Rick Bennett as Vice President and General Manager of Remote A...

Quantum Energy Secures 2nd Bakken Refinery Site

Quantum Energy Secures 2nd Bakken Refinery Site

Blue Earth Announces Long-Term Energy Savings Relationship With JBS USA Holdings, Inc.

Blue Earth Announces Long-Term Energy Savings Relationship With JBS USA Holdings, Inc.

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>