Hundreds of thousands of homes in Ukraine have now been left without electricity after malware affected regional power businesses.
Research from security company iSIGHT Partners, reported by Ars Technica, explained that the outage happened after malware led to the disconnection of a number of electrical substations.
The damage was inflicted after hackers introduced dangerous software into systems utilised by several electricity networks, leading to a total power shut down that stopped computers from restarting and ultimately took the network offline.
It is the first example of power networks being brought offline by hackers, following widespread fears from energy companies and security experts that cyber criminals were capable of such attacks.
The incident was examined by security specialist Esset, which found that 'BlackEnergy' malware infiltrated the energy networks and led to a 'KillDisk' component being activated, which stopped systems from rebooting.
Such a large attack is certainly a worrying sign for a number of businesses. There was a common belief that power systems were invulnerable to those kind of incidents, so this latest news could mean big changes for companies all over the world.
It is alarming that data attacks can pose such a big threat to infrastructure and, with cyber criminals using increasingly sophisticated technology, there could be more of these kind of incidents in the future.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Peter Sommer, professor of digital evidence at Birmingham City University, said: "If you're able to knock out a country’s electricity systems then it affects everything else, from banking to traffic control systems.
"There are only a limited number of [power control] devices in circulation which can turn switches on or off, so one of the concerns is that a piece of malware directed at one system can affect others."
It will be interesting to see how organisations react to this incident and whether developers will introduce new technology in the coming years to tackle such threats.