'Growing cyber threat' during coronavirus pandemic

Renewable energy asset owners relying more heavily on digital systems during the coronavirus pandemic must adapt to increased exposure to cyber threats such as ransomware, denial-of-service and human error, according to insurer GCube.

High-profile cyber attacks have happened in the UK, the United States and Portugal in recent months (pic credit: Pixabay)

Covid-19 has led to national lockdowns worldwide, prompting many renewable energy companies to use remote monitoring systems and working practices to try and ensure ‘business as usual’ despite the disruption.

This leaves renewable energy portfolios more exposed to cyber attacks, Geoffrey Taunton-Collins, a senior analyst at insurance provider GCube explained.

“Digitalisation drives significant efficiency gains for businesses, of course, and is now a necessity for renewable energy companies looking to maintain continuity during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

“But with portfolios now at greater risk of cyber-attacks, we are seeing even more demand for our cyber insurance product as project owners are increasingly realising the very real threat that cyber attacks pose.”

Attacks such as ransomware and denial-of-service remain significantly under-reported in the renewable energy industry, GCube added.

But recent, high-profile examples in the UK, the United States and Portugal have provided additional public demonstrations of the need for asset owners to invest in cyber insurance, the company suggested,

US wind and solar PV operator sPower suffered a denial of service attack in March 2019, Portuguese utility EDPR faced a ransomware demand in April 2020, while UK power system administrator Elexon’s IT systems were hit by an unidentified cyber attack in May.