Total Gas & Power
Total Gas & Power is a business energy supplier, wholly owned by Total SA. It has been a leading business ...Read More
This Halloween we’re taking a look at the genuinely scary side of energy. And few things are scarier than not having any energy at all.
On Friday October 21st, thousands of people tried to log on to Twitter. Instead of the usual timeline, they were met with an error page. The situation was repeated across the globe for users of Paypal, Spotify and Netflix. Cyber hackers had brought down the world’s biggest, wealthiest, websites.
It gets creepier: the attack used thousands of internet connected devices, including cameras and children’s toys, to overwhelm websites with millions upon millions of requests, knocking them offline in what’s known as a ‘denial of service’ attack. Last Friday, hackers turned the internet of things into a weapon.
Worse still? Friday’s attack wasn’t the target. It was the test run.
Knocking websites offline is annoying, knocking payment systems out is disruptive. But knocking out the energy grid could be deadly.
Think about it, energy controls everything: from petrol pumps to cash points to international banking systems. From security systems to refrigeration and sewage. Without electricity, there’s no internet, no communications, no food, no transport.
A large scale power outage would cripple everything we take for granted.
Let’s start with the facts:
The truth is that we just don’t know.
60% of US tech experts interviewed by Pew Internet and American Life Project believe that a cyber attack will cause loss of life by 2025. Earlier this year the Ukraine was the victim of a successful large scale cyber attack that plunged 225,000 people in the dark for several hours.
The same thing, or worse, could happen in the UK. Whilst the UK has scores of highly competent cyber security experts working around the clock to stop malicious activity, mistakes do happen. The increasing number of internet connected devices in homes, many with weaker security than computers, has the potential to make us more vulnerable, just as they make us more connected.
So how would a successful cyber attack go down? The first thing that goes will be the lights. For a while it will be like any other blackout. We’ve all been there. After half a day your phone and laptop die, then it gets really annoying. As the night drags on, you can’t get updates on what’s going on- you haven’t had a radio for years. The next morning, when the lights still won’t turn on, you start to worry. Do you go to work? Stay home? If you get a tram or a train, well, they won’t be working. Neither will cash points or petrol pumps. You can’t even make toast for breakfast, and the milk has been in a warm fridge overnight. You might not be able to shower. You can’t access the news. If you don’t have a landline, you can’t even call family.
If there’s an emergency, you can’t call the police. People will panic buy food and petrol. After two days, anything refrigerated will be useless anyway. Lifts, escalators and electric doors will be out of action. Good luck if you use a fob to get into your office.
There will be looting. There may be riots. The global financial system will be chaos. The economic damage could take months to recover from.
The general consensus appears to be that a cyber attack would last for days at most. However, in his book ‘Lights Out’, veteran journalist Teddy Koppel stated that Governments should be planning for six to 18 months of power outages. Earlier this year, in the USA, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton heard testimony from utility and government experts that the US could face weeks of power outages in the aftermath of a successful attack.
The main thing that we can do to prevent a cyber attack is to ensure that all internet connected devices we buy have robust security features. As the companies that make so-called ‘smart devices’ tend not to be the ones impacted by cyber attacks, the main incentive for them to up their security game will be consumer pressure.
It’s also worth doing some prep for a successful cyber attack. Check out our infographic for a guide to what you can do to minimise the damage, should the lights go out…
Renewel for electricity
"Spoke to Bhavni at SwitchMyBusiness to see if I could get a better deal on my shop electricity. She was very helpful and got me a better deal for my premises. Highly recommended in all departments. Thanks again, Glen"This review was posted by Glen Thomas on the 21st of February 2018
Jess Purnell was very helpful
"Jess Purnell was very helpful, found great prices and offered to sort the documents for cancellation with my existing supplier."This review was posted by Elizabeth Hay on the 21st of February 2018
Thank you Bhavni for all your help
"Delighted to have come across SwitchMyBusiness yesterday. Bhavni was a delight to deal with and made the whole process very easy for us to renew with our current supplier at a cheaper rate than they had offered us. Refreshing to deal with a company that are not pushy or just talk at you! Thank you Bhavni for all your help. Alison Dairy at Daviot"This review was posted by Alison on the 21st of February 2018
thank you nicole for your kind help to…
"thank you nicole for your kind help to set up my business electric account fantastic service and your personal touch thank you"This review was posted by Sam Raju on the 19th of February 2018
Aaron Gallagher recently helped me…
"Aaron Gallagher recently helped me switch the gas and electricity supply for our business. He was extremely helpful and well informed which was great for me as I know nothing in this area! He saved us a small fortune and dealt with all of the switch for us which again was extremely helpful as it wasn't completely straightforward. Thanks again for you help Aaron, it was so appreciated."This review was posted by Rachel on the 17th of February 2018