Offshore wind vulnerable to cyber-attacks

Research from Concordia University and Hydro-Quebec has claimed that offshore wind requires more cyber infrastructure than onshore wind because the farms are far from land and have to be operated remotely.

Due to their complex and hybrid-communication architecture, offshore wind farms are highly susceptible to cyberattacks, the researchers claimed.

The wind farms need to communicate with onshore systems via a wide area network, with turbines also communicating with maintenance vessels and inspection drones, as well as with each other. This means that there is a complex network in place that offers many access points for cyberattacks. While the system networks can handle events like router failures or signal decays, there could be a significant impact if an attack came “in the middle” who hijacks signals.

The research also claimed that manufacturers and utilities face a significant challenge in dealing with gaps in the security of operational technologies. The research team also said that regulators needed to take a proactive stance in ensuring the security of systems.