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Power User
Posts: 15053

« Reply #100 on: December 22, 2016, 08:24:13 PM »

Ukraine power grids a sign of things to come for U.S.?

Russian hacking to influence the election has dominated the news. But CBS News has also noticed a hacking attack that could be a future means to the U.S. Last weekend, parts of the Ukrainian capitol Kiev went dark. It appears Russia has figured out how to crash a power grid with a click.

Last December, a similar attack occurred when nearly a quarter of a million people lost power in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine when it was targeted by a suspected Russian attack. 

Vasyl Pemchuk is the electric control center manager, and said that when hackers took over their computers, all his workers could do was film it with their cell phones.

“It was illogical and chaotic,” he said. “It seemed like something in a Hollywood movie.”

Vasyl Pemchuk in the control center that was hacked
CBS News

The hackers sent emails with infected attachments to power company employees, stealing their login credentials and then taking control of the grid’s systems to cut the circuit breakers at nearly 60 substations.

The suspected motive for the attack is the war in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists are fighting against Ukrainian government forces.

But hackers could launch a similar attack in the U.S.

“We can’t just look at the Ukraine attack and go ‘oh we’re safe against that attack,’” said Rob Lee, a former cyberwarfare operations officer in the U.S. military, investigated the Ukraine attack.

Rob Lee
CBS News

“Even if we just lose a portion, right? If we have New York City or Washington D.C. go down for a day, two days, a week, what does life look like at that point?” he said.

He said that some U.S. electric utilities have weaker security than Ukraine, and the malicious software the hackers used has already been detected in the U.S.

“It’s very concerning that these same actors using similar capabilities and tradecraft are preparing and are getting access to these business networks, getting access to portions of the power grid,” he said.

In Ukraine, they restarted the power in just hours. But an attack in the U.S. could leave people without electricity for days, or even weeks, according to experts. Because, ironically, America’s advanced, automated grid would be much harder to fix.
Power User
Posts: 15053

« Reply #101 on: January 14, 2017, 08:52:50 PM »

To survive the hacking of a power grid, it’s time to stockpile food, water and medicine
Paul Harasim


Heather Murren, the wife of Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of a survivalist or prepper.

Her hair and makeup is just so. Instead of fatigues, she prefers designer wear. She lives in a mansion, not a cave or a shack in the forest.

But when she talks about what she learned as a member of the Commission on Enhancing National Cyberesecurity, what she has to say often sounds much like something we’ve generally thought of as coming from the lips of a backwoods, paranoid, tobacco chewin’, gun totin’, doomsday conspiracy theorist.

It’s time, she says, for Americans to stockpile food, water, medical supplies and other essential everyday items. She says she’s talked to representatives with the American Red Cross and urged them to get the word out to people.

The reason is simple: The nation’s electric power grid is susceptible to cyberwarfare.

Should hackers shut down much of the electrical grid and the critical infrastructure accompanying it, we would have to live for an extended period of time without much of what we now take for granted.

Murren notes experts believe Russia hacked Ukraine’s power grid twice in the past year.

Forget having heat or air conditioning. Water couldn’t be pumped into most homes. ATMs, debit and credit cards wouldn’t work. There would be no banking or air traffic control or traffic lights or Internet. Pharmacies couldn’t dispense medicine. Gas stations couldn’t pump. Say adios to commerce for days or weeks or even months.

“Hacking of the power grid is a significant concern,” said Murren, appointed last year by President Obama to the commission that recently released its report to the nation.

“We can recover from a natural disaster faster than a cyberattack, ” she said. ” When Hurricane Sandy hit we could bring people from throughout the country to help out. But if there’s a cyberattack on the grid in that same region we couldn’t send people from other places because they all use other computer systems. They won’t know the system, what to do.”

What makes Murren’s comments all the more compelling is that they are delivered in the crisp, authoritative, unemotional tone of a Wall Street financier, which she was before moving to Las Vegas.

“Americans should be very concerned,” she stressed.

More people seem to be with each passing day. You can even find directions on the Internet about how to make the water in a swimming pool safe for drinking in an emergency.

While what commission members have to say is in the spotlight today because Russian hacking to influence the presidential election has dominated the news, the observations made on cybersecurity four years ago by then-U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are no less riveting.

“We know foreign cyberactors … are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants … We know of specific instances where intruders have successfully gained access to these control systems. We also know they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack these systems and cause panic, destruction and even loss of life.”

Murren said more urgency is needed toward cybersecurity, both in government and private industry.

“Technology tends to be viewed by business management as a silo,” she said. “But cyber now touches everything. New board guidelines suggest that at least one board member should have cybersecurity knowledge and that the full board should receive a presentation annually on the subject of cybersecurity. Most businesses don’t do this.”

On the other hand, she said government has too often made businesses go it alone and not played a critical role in coordinating a well-thought-out national digital security system.

She said an appropriate response by the American government to foreign-sanctioned cyberware must be worked out.

“When does it constitute an act of war?” she said.

Murren said the country can’t wait any longer to enact a workable security system.

“Failures in cybersecurity leading to theft of intellectual property are extraordinarily costly … Left unchecked, it can cost us our economic strength and global leadership. Some estimates put the theft of intellectual property — airplane schematics, drug formulas, etc., at $300-$350 billion per year.”

Paul Harasim’s column runs Sunday, Tuesday and Friday in the Nevada section and Monday in the Health section. Contact him at or 702-387-5273. Follow @paulharasim on Twitter
Power User
Posts: 15053

« Reply #102 on: July 08, 2017, 07:21:20 PM »

I don't agree with every point in the film, but it is a very important movie.
Power User
Posts: 40839

« Reply #103 on: August 08, 2017, 10:23:29 PM »

Just bought a shit load of good-for-thiry-years food.
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