Queensland’s CS Energy falls victim to a ransomware attack

Cyber tech news

CS Energy in Queensland was the victim of a ransomware attack on its corporate network, the company confirmed to Energy Source & Distribution

“The incident occurred on CS Energy’s corporate network and has not impacted electricity generation at our Callide and Kogan Creek power stations. Our power stations are continuing to generate and dispatch electricity into the National Electricity Market,” CS Energy said in a statement.

This is the second major incident for the energy company this year, with an explosion at CS Energy’s Callide power plant in May, cutting power to 477,000 homes and businesses across Queensland.

CEO Andrew Bills said CS Energy’s focus was on restoring the security of its network and supporting employees, customers and business partners with any questions they may have.

Industrial cybersecurity company Claroty said, over the past couple of years, ransomware gangs have increasingly targeted critical infrastructure organisations because they know that they can’t afford to have any operational interruptions or downtime.

Downtime could lead to a catastrophic situation in the case of the energy sector, making energy providers more likely to pay the ransom. Similar to the Colonial Pipeline attack which targeted a major US pipeline, the ransomware group responsible for the CS Energy attack likely expected the payment of a large ransom.

The Australian Government’s Security of Critical Infrastructure Act (amendments) was passed into law only a fortnight ago and the upcoming Ransomware Action Plan will also strengthen the critical infrastructure sector, encouraging operators like CS Energy to uplift or upgrade their cybersecurity programs to better deal with ransomware.

The usual vector for ransomware is via corporate systems/networks and most organisations in the power sector will segment their Operational Technology systems from their corporate networks to avoid an attack via this route

Hopefully this is the case for CS Energy, who are one of Queensland’s three main power generation companies along with Stanwell Corporation and Cleanco.”

Matthew Giannelis

Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Contracting as an IT support engineer for 20 years Matthew has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the technology industry. He's also an advocate for global cyber security matters.

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