With summer heat stressing the grid to the max, even an attack on a small part of the grid could have grave consequences. Read what I wrote about grid security back on December 8, 2017.
Each day I try to get you to consider the broad spectrum of risk in your life, and to determine the appropriate response level to that risk. A risk that is becoming more prevalent today is that of a cyber attack on America’s power grid. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been tracking hackers as they map America’s power grid and probe it for vulnerabilities. Anyone who can remember the 2003 blackout in the North East knows that vast swathes of the power grid can go down at once, plunging large populations into the dark in an instant.
Caroline Houck explains the new risks uncovered by DHS and what that could mean at Defenseone.com.
“On a scale of 1 to 10,” the threat of a cyber attack on U.S.critical infrastructure is “a 7 or an 8,” the Department of Homeland Security warned lawmakers last week. And indeed, someone has been probing the defenses of utilities, key manufacturers, and others. So what happens if hackers launch a network attack that, say, causes a rolling blackout in the Midwest?
How far will it spread, and what about the second-tier effects? What happens to regional chemical manufacturers or nuclear power plants? How long until municipal utilities cannot provide potable water? What would all this do to hospitals, local businesses, and communities?
Right now, answering even the first of those questions is hard enough.
“There’s not a great understanding of how something occurring in the Midwest might affect something in California,” said Ryan Hruska, an analyst at the Energy Department’s Idaho National Laboratory, or INL.
Even without any bad actors targeting power grids or telecom networks, much of the U.S.’s aging infrastructure is vulnerable todisruptions large and small. In 2003, for example, 50 million people lost power when a blackout spread across the Northeast and into Canada. This fragility suggests that nightmare scenarios are possible.
Read more here.