In association with heise online

12 December 2012, 12:39

Power grid operators attacked via DDoS

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50Hertz logo

The internet infrastructure of 50Hertz, a power grid operator that runs 220 and 380 kilovolt transmission networks in Northern and Eastern Germany, was attacked by unidentified criminals on 20 November. The EurActiv European news portal reports that the CEO of 50Hertz, Boris Schucht, announced at an event in Brussels that a botnet had hit the high voltage power grid operator's web pages and email infrastructure with a DDoS attack.

50Hertz press spokesperson Volker Kamm told The H's associates at heise online: "The attackers targeted the 50Hertz domain, which is hosted with provider Vattenfall/VEIS. As a consequence of the attack, all externally accessible services such as those of the Exchange email system and the web presences became unavailable." Two days later, further attacks were registered on the German transmission network operators' information platformGerman language link and on their European counterpart TSC.

Talking to heise online, 50Hertz said that Akamai's Site Defender software was "successfully used" to combat all three attacks. Although no infrastructure that is relevant for power transmission is thought to have been affected by the attack, EurActiv reports that the incident was discussed at an assembly meeting of the European Network of Transmission Systems Operators for Electricity association.

50Hertz is among the companies that have benefited the most from the renewable energy boom in Germany: the operator says that 40 per cent of Germany's generated wind power is transmitted through its networks. The former Vattenfall subsidiary is currently owned by Belgian transmission network operator ELIA and by the Australian IFM infrastructure investment fund.

(Falk Lüke / fab)

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