Utilities: Are Your Voice Communications & Data Safe From Cyber Attacks?
The UK’s energy and utilities sector are influential in our everyday lives. The cup of tea we make, the movie we stream on our TVs, or the hot shower we take, is made possible by the energy or water supply that is pumped into our homes or businesses.
But with such influence comes the pressure of being one of the most susceptible sectors to cyberattacks. In 2021, the energy sector accounted for 24% of all cybersecurity incidents in the country – more than the financial sector, which accounted for 19% of all attacks.
And today, we kick off our Pain Points series, by looking at why the sector is so vulnerable to malicious activity. Plus, we delve into how businesses can protect their voice communications and data.
The vulnerability of having power
The sector’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks can also be seen in the form of statistics that show:
• £13 billion is invested every year to deliver power
• This power is delivered to 28 million homes and businesses
• 738,000 people are employed within the sector
• The sector plays a key role in the UK’s Net Zero targets and emission cutting initiatives
You don’t even have to do the maths to realise how much of a precarious position the sector is in when it comes to being targeted by cyber criminals and hackers. The risk of having sensitive information stolen or systems compromised – ones that are impacting the daily lives of the public – is so high that it can’t be brushed under the carpet.
But don’t be mistaken that putting in preventative measures is a new thing. One of the first known cyber incidents at a nuclear power plant took place in 1992, when an Oleg Savchuk deliberately infected the computer system of a plant in Lithuania with a malicious virus.
And in 2007, engineers at the Idaho National Lab showed how 21 lines of computer code could cripple a huge generator – which could potentially cause a huge problem in the process.
This is why voice communication and data must be as secure and private as possible. If it isn’t, then businesses that power the world will suddenly find themselves in hot water, and not the type used to run a bath.
The key to secure communication and data
To keep your voice and data safe and secure you need to ensure it is encrypted – much like WhatsApp conversations are for example. In the world of energy and utilities, one of the best ways to do this is by using devices and systems that come with enhanced encryption.
Digital mobile radios and their systems usually come with Basic, Enhanced Encryption (40-bit) or Enhanced Encryption (AES 256-bit). Below you will find a summary of each type and how they work in practice.
Basic Encryption helps to keep your conversations more secure by using a 16-bit key size length to create a basic layer of security and privacy.
It offers a similar level of privacy as voice inversion scrambling (which is an analog method of obscuring the content of a transmission). But the clue is in the name, as only basic protection is given in this instance.
Enhanced Encryption (40-bit)
We now enter the remit where things are becoming more advanced and more enhanced. Greater key length (40-bit) is used to create layers of complexity when it comes to hiding what’s being transmitted.
Every transmission is turned into data, and each piece of data is given a different packet to travel in, so when a hacker tries to intercept them, it becomes more of a game of cat and mouse than it is with Basic protection.
Enhanced Encryption (AES 256-bit)
This type of encryption uses a key size of 256 bit to create layers upon layers of complexity and is regarded as one of the safest forms of encryption, with near unbreakable protection for your voice communications and data.
It was originally established in 2001 by the US National Institute of Standards and is widely used by national governments, public safety departments and other high security agencies.
The encryption we recommend you use
When it comes to the most suitable type of encryption for your organisation, it’s important to factor in how encrypted you want your communications and data to be. But as a company, who’ve been working with the energy and utilities sector for over 35 years, we recommend that you opt for either type of Enhanced encryption.
Although Enhanced encryption (40-bit) is not as robust as Enhanced Encryption (AES 256-bit) and still offers a secure solution for your business needs and is more cost effective.
Book a FREE demonstration of TRBOCALL
Our TRBOCALL system offers all three types of encryption that have been mentioned in this blog post. If you’d like to learn more about how we can keep your voice communication data secure, then book a FREE, no obligation demonstration of our TRBOCALL system today.
Simply fill out our contact us form to register your interest.
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