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What is the “Industroyer” Virus and Should You Worry?

Industroyer is a virus built with the specific goal to disrupt industrial control systems. Because these systems are so dated, the virus can corrupt them.

The Industroyer virus first came to light in 2016 when the power grid for Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, was hacked. This virus can disrupt critical infrastructure systems that control power, causing a community to lose power. The hack can happen on any scale; it can affect large cities and even small towns. But why is this important and why should you care?

It Takes Advantage of Old Systems
Because these systems are so dated, and because their communication protocols are not designed with security in mind, the hackers do not need to look for protocol vulnerabilities to hack into them. Essentially, these are outdated systems that make it extremely easy for hackers to spread the virus. The only thing hackers need to do is to teach the Industroyer virus to speak those protocols so it can get into their system.

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The worst part of this virus is that it makes it nearly impossible to reboot the computer that it has infected, which only prolongs the amount of time a city’s power is hijacked. These hackers could ask for anything in return and can essentially hold the city — and it’s people — hostage.

This Virus is Hard to Detect
Another issue that makes this virus extremely dangerous is that it’s difficult to detect. It’s very crucial that city officials can detect the Industroyer virus because it has the capability to control the power grid. This means that hackers may potentially have the power to cut power for the hospital when patients are mid-surgery or even cut the traffic lights, which would cause traffic accidents.

It Could Be Even More Damaging
One concerning aspect of this virus is that experts believe that it could be reformatted to affect other types of infrastructure such as water and gas. This would be very damaging, and it could lead to a mass drought or a loss of gas. Another type of critical infrastructure it may be reformatted to control is transportation control systems, which could lead to mass chaos for transportation.

Can the Industroyer Virus Affect You?
Luckily, for those living in the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security says that it is investigating the virus and that it has checked and found no evidence of it in any U.S. critical infrastructure. Because the United States government is aware of the issue and is looking into the hackers involved, there is a low chance that the Industroyer virus will personally affect you or your town. But this is still a lesson for all global governments to be aware that infrastructures are vulnerable to attacks.