Power Grid Attacks: Our power grid is being hammered by Both Physical & Cyber Attacks

According to federal records, our nation’s power grid has been successfully penetrated by cyber attackers at least 159 times during a 48 month period that ended in October 2014. The records, which were obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act filed by USA Today, show that the Department of Energy reported at least 1,131 cyber attacks during that same period.

Power Grid Lines

Although the Department of Energy claims these attacks have never resulted in any widespread outages, the attacks have raised fears over how vulnerable our nation’s power grid is to an attack.

About once every four days, the physical and computerized security systems meant to protect this nation’s power grid are affected by these attacks. According to USA Today, our government has little clue over who is actually attacking the grid. Even scarier, they have no real plan to deal with the aftermath of a successful attack.

Widespread Attacks on our Nation’s Power Grid

Between 2011 and 2014, electric utilities in the United States reported 362 physical and cyberattacks that caused outages or other power disturbances to the U.S. Department of Energy. In a vast majority of those cases, no suspects were ever identified.

In 2013, we reported on a number of these attacks where people were targeting small power substations throughout the country. During one attack, an unknown group cut communication cables along a highway in San Jose, California before firing over 100 rounds of ammunition into large transformers at the substation. The FBI categorized the attack as a “Military-style” attack, but were never able to identify who was responsible.

That attack, revealed a major vulnerability in our power grid. According to a study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a relatively small coordinated attack in each of the nation’s three separate electric systems could cause the entire power grid to collapse. The nation’s power grid could be shut down in a matter of minutes if attacker’s targeted only nine of the country’s 55,000 electric transmission substations.

U.S. Power Grid System

An internal FERC memo summed up the danger. “Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”

What Experts say will happen if these attacks are successful.

According to Frank Gaffney, a spokesman for the Center for Security Policy, within a year of an attack that took out our power grid “nine out of 10 Americans would be dead. He warns, “we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity.”

Former CIA Bureau Chief Claire Lopez issued a similar warning,  saying that “Within one year, it is estimated that 9 out of 10 of all Americans would be dead.”

Scott White, Professor of Homeland Security and Security Management and Director of the Computing Security and Technology program at Drexel University warns, “The potential for an adversary to disrupt, shut down (power systems), or worse … is real here.”

Damon Petraglia, Cyber-Terrorism expert and member of US Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force told us “we are under attack 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Our military systems are probed in excess of hundreds of thousands of times per hour. Our private industry can claim similar statistics.”

What can you do to Prepare for an attack on our Infrastructure?

Utility Workers

In my book, The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide, I devote a lot of time to this specific topic because I believe our country’s emergency managers have no real contingency plans to deal with this type of event. You need to be prepared to survive an extended period of time without power, without access to food and water, and without essential services.

Stock up on Food & Water: During a long-term grid down situation, food and water will be the most important supplies you can have. Our entire food infrastructure is incredibly dependent on the grid; if something causes it to go down for any length of time, you are going to see widespread panic and chaos. Stock up on long-term food and water.

Have cash on hand: During any type of grid down situation, your debit and credit cards are going to be useless. You need to have cash on hand to buy last minute supplies, and to deal with the initial stages of the disaster.

Start becoming more Self-Reliant: Over the last couple of decades the world has seen an unprecedented spike in technology and access to learning. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a growing number of people who have used this technology to tune out, and lose their ability to be self-reliant. To prepare for this danger, these 32 resources and skills are all things that you should know.

Stock up on Firearms: During any type of long-term power outage, security is going to be a top priority. If the grid goes down for any length of time, chaos is going to quickly sweep the streets and social unrest will be one of the top threats you face. The unprepared masses are going to be unpredictable; in all likelihood they will become a threat to your safety.

Stock up on Backup Power. Solar Chargers, power generators, and portable battery backups are all things you need to invest in. For a very small amount of money, you can ensure you have power to run things like emergency radios, ham radios, tablets, flashlights and other emergency gear.

5 Comments

  1. B from CA
    September 12, 2015 at 3:43 am

    If we have money to buy fancy aircraft so we can watch grannies planting tomatoes, suspicious grannies who may have a hidden agenda that could bring down the world as we know it, ass—-s domestic and or foreign are given free access to power stations. We can’t place armed guards around nuclear stations. It wouldn’t be friendly like.
    I once hung around a water reservoir trying to act like I was an evil doer, just to test to see how long it would take before someone showed up to see what I was up to. After a while I realized that there was no security at all. I was angry. I wanted to complain. But ultimately I decided to keep my mouth closed. After all. Why give these morons an excuse to accuse me of God Knows What.

    San Jose. Is that the San Jose near that large community of friendly Middle Eastern residents.
    I know it well. A nice lady from Iran told me to my face that all American women are whores and sluts. Although she had a valid point, I couldn’t deny that it made me wonder WTF.
    That grid has been in danger for twenty-thirty years.
    When is somebody going to secure it from the possibility of attacks. When?

    • Joe
      September 12, 2015 at 11:53 am

      It is pretty damn infuriating to see how much money they suck out of us every year and they can’t secure our damn borders, infrastructure, jails, delivery systems, etc..

  2. SOX
    September 14, 2015 at 2:41 am

    HSI, and ICE’s Operation Predator is depriving US citizens of their rights in the name of public safety.

    A recent trend in news stories is revealing how the Patriot Act, and Homeland Security Act of 2002 is being misused to target sex offenders nationwide.

    The extent of this misuse is mind boggling, 6000 HSI investigators nationwide form rapid response teams to actively monitor EVERY sex offender in the country.

    This constant surveillance is costing US taxpayers BILLIONS.

    To make things worse, they are engaging in EXTENSIVE, large scale, cell phone position tracking of every sex offender in the country as well.

    The NSA’s global surveillance is NOT primarily being used in the war on terror,,, its a nationwide dragnet for porn viewers. ANYONE caught viewing a questionable image is at risk for being busted for child porn charges, whether they had intent or not.

    I can also attest(first hand knowledge) to the fact that these agencies are conducting what is known as, “managed aggression”. It is used to put a suspect in distress in order to get him/her to slip up and do something incriminating. Agents enjoy this a little too much…

    These sorts of government programs should not be operated against US citizens without transparency. We have the right to know, to make sure our rights are not being violated.

  3. Paul
    September 15, 2015 at 6:16 am

    I know I live within the 60 mile radius of a nuclear power plant. So, my question is if the Grid goes down how vulnerable are the reactors to meltdown in a grid attack and if an EMP hits.

    • Jefferson
      September 15, 2015 at 7:19 am

      I’ve thought of that as well. I live in a small state with 3 nuclear power plants. Have never been able to get a straight answer as to how long I’d have to get out before they went into a meltdown state, or if they even would go into a meltdown state.

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