Solar Storm Warning: Sun Shoots X-Flare Outburst at Earth

A cantankerous sunspot region erupted with a powerful X1.6-class solar flare at just the wrong time Wednesday. The blast was pointing right at us. That means the resulting outburst of electrically charged particles, known as a coronal mass ejection or CME, could have a disruptive effect.

The National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center reported on its Facebook page that the height of the storm is expected to sweep over Earth on Saturday

Solar storms don’t have a significant impact on human health, although high-altitude fliers and astronauts may get an extra dose of radiation. In a worst-case scenario, the storms can deal a blow to orbiting satellites and power grids on Earth. In a best-case scenario, they merely cause heightened auroral displays. Continue reading

Over 1,000 European and US energy firms hit by Russian ‘Energetic Bear’ virus that let hackers take control of power plants

The virus infected power plant control systems, allowing operators to monitor energy consumption in real time - and to cripple physical systems such as wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants at the click of a mouse.

  •   – Attack ‘bears the hallmarks of a state-sponsored operation’
  •   – Timestamps show hackers based in Eastern Europe
  •   – Malware has now been identified and can be removed

By Mark Prigg

From: The Daily Mail

Over 1,000 energy firms were infected with a sophisticated cyber weapon that gave hackers access to power plant control systems, it has been revealed.

Called ‘Energetic Bear’, the malware was unmasked by security firm Symantec.

It said the software allows operators to monitor energy consumption in real time – and to cripple physical systems such as wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants at the click of a mouse. Continue reading