Friday, April 10, 2009

Who Turned the Lights Out?

Prepare yourself to possibly be asking this question one day, because evidently, the US Electrical Grid is not as safe as we might think.

Am I the only one who is in the slightest bit alarmed by headlines like this:

  • "Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated By Spies"
  • "U.S. Electrical Grid Breached By Cyber Spies"
  • "Chinese and Russian hackers 'could disable U.S. electrical grid at the flick of a switch'"
  • "Cyberspies Penetrate U.S. Power Grid, Leave Software That Could Disrupt System"
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday morning that the U.S. electrical grid (online) had been breached by Chinese and Russian hackers, and that they left behind software programs that acted as little "bombs." They are intended to completely take out and/or compromise our power system's infrastructure. Across the country. All power.

Imagine for one moment... life without power. All emergency and security systems -- down. Most phones -- down. No traffic lights. No heat or cool air. No refrigeration. No lights. No washers and dryers. No hair dryers. No NOTHING (that's technical terminology -- if it is over your head, let me know).

And get this... In early 2008, there was a CIA senior analyst who confirmed that online attackers had caused at least one blackout in a city outside the United States.

From the Wall Street Journal: "The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven't sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war."

Wonderful. But there's more.

"Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet." Just so you know... there are 6 operating commercial nuclear power plants close to my home. Not that I'm concerned or anything... but if there IS a war, and the Chinese or Russians have control of our power grid, and they can commit all kinds of harry-carry -- nuclear leaks come to mind -- I don't want to be anywhere CLOSE to a nuclear power plant... mainly because I look bad as a bald woman.

I'm just saying!

Although, it may help produce some really, REALLY green lettuce.

Cybersecurity. Is there really any?


Julie said...

First, yes, this freaks me out. I was shocked at how it was reported like it was Paris Hilton's new haircut.

Secondly, having just lived through Ike, we are probably a little better equipped than most people and, quite frankly, I don't want to do that any time soon. It is really dark at night and more than a little freaky.

LvlyRita said...

It is a shocking (pun not intended) bit of news. Hope we do something about the security and not just wait for us to be "attacked."

Donnetta said...

My cousin and his family are missionaries in Nepal. They've been having only 4 hours a day of electricity due to the government rationing it. (at least as I understand it).

It's been interesting to hear how they are navigating it. And with these type of headlines... at least they're getting 4 hours a day.