Two engineers have discovered a major vulnerability in the systems that control our power grid, one that could literally allow hackers to take down the entire U.S. power grid.
According to the New York Times, the two engineers, Adam Crain and Chris Sistrunk, developed software to look for vulnerabilities in an open-source software program. The program looked for defects in a very specific communications protocol called DNP3, which is predominantly used by electric and water companies, and plays a crucial role in so-called S.C.A.D.A. (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems.SCADA systems basically control everything from our communication infrastructure, to our drinking water and our electric power grid and nuclear reactors. For many years SCADA systems were thought to be more secure; according to these engineers, that may not be the case.During the course of testing, the engineers found they could penetrate and shutdown almost every major Industrial Control System they tested. The two quickly compiled a 20-page report detailing the vulnerabilities they found for the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team.Despite finding and reporting the problems to the Department of Homeland Security, the engineers claim very little is being done to fix the problem.Government preparing for Massive GridEx 2013 Preparedness DrillEarly next month, the U.S. Government, along with more than 150 companies and organizations, will take part in GridEx 2013, one of the largest infrastructure preparedness drills ever. The drill will simulate a Grid Down Scenario, one that will examine what would happen if the county’s electric grid was taken down by both physical and cyber-attacks.While GridEx 2013 organizers are pretty tight-lipped over exactly what’s being tested, experts say it could be years before any real improvements are actually made. In fact, our country has known about most of these threats for decades, but very little has been done to protect the country.Earlier this year we talked to Damon Petraglia, a Cyber-Terrorism expert and member of US Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force, who told us, the country is “under attack 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.” He went on to say, “Our military systems are probed in excess of hundreds of thousands of times per hour. Our private industry can claim similar statistics.”Our country’s infrastructure is extremely susceptible to cyber-attacks, not to mention how easily things can go bad during relatively common problems caused by storms and outdated failing equipment. As we’ve seen during disasters like Hurricane Sandy, even small-scale disasters can wreak havoc on this country’s power grid, and cause mass amounts of chaos on the streets.The need to be prepared for this type of disaster has never been more apparent. Our entire culture clings to these systems like a lifeline, should those systems go down this country will be in for some major trouble.
Last night I watched a show on discovery about this very problem. It was a dramatization about how Americans would react and survive a country wide grid failure. The results were not pretty. Of course the vast majority of Americans were totally unprepared and had little or no food or water stored. After the first 3 days store shelves were completely emptied. After 5 days many people, especially in big cities were starving and began to turn on each other. Criminals and looters began to roam the streets in search of water, food, weapons, etc..Those that were prepared had to fight for what was theirs. Those that were not tried to take what they needed from their neighbors.We have seen this happen in real life to some degree. We have witnessed and even been a part of severe weather events that have knocked power out for weeks at a time. Since it was isolated to certain areas, the whole country was not impacted like on the show but the worst we have seen of late was Katrina or even Sandy, when thousands of people were uprooted and moved to places like shelters or the superdome. The feds and local law confiscated guns in New Orleans and that allowed looters and criminals to be free to terrorize. This we know can and will will happen again, especially with the regime we have in place today!I am prepared to defend my family. Yet what will we do when our own neighbors turn on us because we have food and they don’t??? That’s when things turn real ugly!We need to have a plan and try to stick to it. There is strength in numbers!We should stockpile food & water and have enough for about 60 days.I definately need to re-stock my fuel supply very soon! I advise at least 10 or 20 gallons of gasoline so you can fill up your tank if you need to bug out. Again this may be a problem due to congestion on the highways but in many cases people like us are ahead of the curve and can be prepared to leave fast before the masses know what hit them. In some cases it may be necessary to leave the city and head for the hills!Always have plenty of guns, ammo, cash, silver or gold, etc..Get some duffle bags set up for grab and go. I have been slack in this area. It would take some time to throw one together at the last minute. Time may or may not be an option we have, depending on the disaster.Have plenty of batteries, candles, matches, lantern fuel, propane, first aid, medicine, etc... I have some of these things but not enough.I have camping gear, lanterns, stove, utensils, tents, sleeping bags, etc.. It’s best to keep these things organized and ready to load up quickly.Our power grid is fragile in this country and could easily be taken out by terrorists. So could our water supply! This is only one of many problems that could force us to have to survive for days or weeks without power, water, etc.. Like I said before, we have seen what hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes can do. These kind of events can lead to massive power failures.You might want to consider renting a climate controlled storage unit and stock it with water, food, supplies etc. This you could share with your family or close friends. Have it somewhere close so that if you had to pull up stakes from home you would have a place to re-stock before heading out of town. This would also give you something to trade for fuel or other items you might need. It might need to be in walking distance. Having a golf cart or ATV might be a good idea as well to navigate around traffic jams.Guess it’s time to get busy!Peace by Preparedness!JD