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CIA: Hackers to Blame for Power Outages

Sounds like the most recent Die Hard movie. From AP-

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hackers literally turned out the lights in multiple cities after breaking into electrical utilities and demanding extortion payments before disrupting the power, a senior CIA analyst told utility engineers at a trade conference.

All the break-ins occurred outside the United States, said senior CIA analyst Tom Donahue. The U.S. government believes some of the hackers had inside knowledge to cause the outages. Donahue did not specify what countries were affected, when the outages occurred or how long the outages lasted. He said they happened in "several regions outside the United States."

"In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities," Donahue said in a statement. "We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet."

A CIA spokesman Friday declined to provide additional details.

"The information that could be shared in a public setting was shared," said spokesman George Little. "These comments were simply designed to highlight to the audience the challenges posed by potential cyber intrusions."

Donahue spoke earlier this week at the Process Control Security Summit in New Orleans, a gathering of engineers and security managers for energy and water utilities.

The Bush administration is increasingly worried about the little-understood risks from hackers to the specialized electronic equipment that operates power, water and chemical plants.

In a test last year, the Homeland Security Department produced a video showing commands quietly triggered by simulated hackers having such a violent reaction that an enormous generator shudders as it flies apart and belches black-and-white smoke.

The Bruce Willis movie is fantasy. However the reality is, our electric grids and the internet could be the target of hackers employed by terrorists. Attacks on the internet were seen in 2002 and as recently as February 2007. The later attack gaining little mention in the press at the time, the MSM and American public too fixated on the trivial goings on after a woman died in South Florida.(The 2002 attack had the misfortune of occuring at the same time as the DC sniper attacks)

The damage a lengthy outage can do can't be understated. The 2003 Northeast blackout, probably caused by some untrimmed trees in Ohio, is supposed to caused 6 to 10 billion dollars in damage. Not to mention the 8 lives that were lost. Just imagine what happens if the power grid goes down for a week or more for an area of the US as large or larger than the 2003 blackout, or the 1965 blackout. I have no solutions to propose, just pray that there are people working to prevent this from happening.


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Comments (12)

Does anybody know why power... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Does anybody know why power grids are connected to the internet? Shouldn't they have closed networks with separate computers for outside lines? It seems pretty stupid to be this vulnerable.

Bush senior took Texas out ... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Bush senior took Texas out of the national
energy grid back in the late 80's. Texas
is a stand alone energy grid now.
Maybe all that saudi oil money floating
around this state had something to do with
it.

Just imagine what ... (Below threshold)
Rovin Author Profile Page:
Just imagine what happens if the power grid goes down for a week or more for an area of the US as large or larger than the 2003 blackout, or the 1965 blackout.

Remember the 1965 blackout well Bill. Also remember the record fornication "committed" during the episode with no tv, radio to interupt the process. Candelight Delight!


Won't let me trackback to y... (Below threshold)

Won't let me trackback to your post for some reason. I comment on this story in a terrorism context. Just imagine if we had another "Northeast Blackout" this weekend, with temperatures in the single digits. The death toll could be absolutely catastrophic due to cold. The feds need to make securing our power grid a much higher priority.

The damage a lengthy out... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

The damage a lengthy outage can do can't be understated.

Shouldn't that be "can't be overstated"?

The problem I have with the... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The problem I have with the 2003 outage is there's nothing in place to cope with the outage. Preventing the outage would be good, but failures will eventually happen. If the NE outage lasted just twice as long or happened in the extreme cold or heat, it would have been far uglier.

Well, the power went out he... (Below threshold)

Well, the power went out here in Wahiawa (across the street from Schofield Barracks, HI) for 2hrs last night...

now I know why.

Damned weather channel hackers!

Remember the 1965 blacko... (Below threshold)

Remember the 1965 blackout well Bill. Also remember the record fornication "committed" during the episode with no tv, radio to interupt the process. Candelight Delight!

That's an urban legend hoisted by of all people, the NY Times. Even 40 years ago they made stuff up.

People still believe it even though it was debunked in 1970.

I blame all power outages p... (Below threshold)
captaindog:

I blame all power outages past, present and future on Monica Lewinsky's ex-boyfriends old hag of a wife. I also blame her for us not getting as much snow as promised today.

We (Clatsop County) lost al... (Below threshold)
epador:

We (Clatsop County) lost all phone service Friday AM and its still out. All those with Qwest internet service are stranded. Never thought I'd be glad I went to cable...

I have no solutions to p... (Below threshold)
molon labe:

I have no solutions to propose, just pray that there are people working to prevent this from happening.

I3P Consortium

The NYC Blackout a few year... (Below threshold)
USpace Author Profile Page:

The NYC Blackout a few years ago was no picnic. We must stop the Jihadi Monkey Hackers!


absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never be paranoid

sitting in cybercafes
in the Paris banlieues

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don't pretend to do Jihad

and infiltrate terrorists
to help them meet their virgins

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe wants
Islam for everyone

submit to glorious life
slavery and servitude
.

http://absurdthoughtsaboutgod.blogspot.com/

http://haltterrorism.com/
:)




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