Energy Grid Vulnerable to Hacker Groups, Says DHS and DoE

Susanne Posel, Contributor
Activist Post

The SuperBowl, hosted in New Orleans, Louisiana experienced a total blackout wherein the 26,000 LED lights surrounding the exterior of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome went dark. Although the LED lights allocated no more energy that the amount needed to light a small home, the system failed.

Mainstream media is decrying about “complex interlocking systems” that make up the networks that control our utilities infrastructure.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the blackout was “an unfortunate moment in what has been an otherwise shining Super Bowl week for the city of New Orleans.”

Entergy, the power corporation in Louisiana released a statement concerning the blackout. They said:

Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue.

Two weeks ago, hackers breached the Department of Energy (DoE) computers to siphon personal information from employees. DoE officials reported the incident to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) who stated that the hackers used “sophisticated” attacks to steal “personally identifiable information” digital data, yet could have more sinister plans in the future should access be gained again.

Several hundred employees, including 14 computer servers and 20 workstations were involved in the hack. The DoE have been cooperating with the FBI to identify the stolen data; as well as devise comprehensive strategies to prevent this from happening again.

The FBI assumes this attack to be the work of Chinese hackers who would want the information to sell on the black market or are conducting surveillance operations for the Chinese government.

In 2012, the Washington Post was compromised by Chinese hackers who used malicious software to infiltrate newsroom network computers.

In the European Union (EU), a breach was successfully made by state-sponsored Chinese hackers which affected the financial markets and was presumed to have a part in the monetary crisis gripping the EU. US intelligence was able to make this summation after infiltrated computers were decoded. Since the incident, avid monitoring has protected databases.

SCADA Systems, a corporation that provides industrial automation technology to agencies surveilling the energy grid was targeted for an elaborate hack of their facilities in the US and Spain.

In a statement representatives from SCADA said:

We do not have any reason to believe that the intruder(s) acquired any information that would enable them to gain access to a customer system or that any of the compromised computers have been connected to a customer system.

SCADA is connected through networks to power plants, water-treatment facilities, traffic lights and other “critical infrastructure”.

General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency (NSA) said in 2012 that the nameless, faceless hacker group Anonymous would take down the entire US electrical grid. Keith warned that the “determination of hacker groups to expose institutional corruption” should result in ever-increasing security for the US government’s digital infrastructure.

While Anonymous reacted to Keith’s assertions by saying:

Anonymous attracted the attention of the National Security Agency. In private meetings at the White House, NSA director General Keith Alexander warned that in a year or two the group could attack the energy grid and shut off power for millions. Ridiculous! Why should Anonymous shut off power grid? Makes no sense! They just want to make you feel afraid.

Ironically, simultaneously, Anonymous launched Operation Global Blackout which was a scheme to bring down the entire Internet on March 31st of last year.

Considering that Anonymous continuously creates chaos on the Internet which results in the furtherance of Big Brother controls, Keith’s statements would not be fear-mongering.

The NSA has begun a comprehensive program to search out our schools into scouting grounds for a team of American grown hacker community. The NSA is focusing on colleges and universities within the US. Four schools have already been singled out as official Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations.

The NSA wants an elite team of “computer geniuses” that are trained in hacking before they obtain their college degree. The students selected to train under this program will not be privy to the impact their work will have on cyber intelligence, military capabilities and law enforcement’s expansion of spying on Americans.

The National Academies (NA) report of 2007 that was declassified as Hurricane Sandy victims were left in the dark, warned of widespread power outages, stated that cyber-attacks, unlike natural disasters, probably could not cause lengthy blackouts.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed that hackers posed an increasing risk to electrical utilities because some control systems may be connected to the Internet.

The NA report pointed out that “cyber-attacks are unlikely to cause extended outages, but if well-coordinated they could magnify the damage of a physical attack.”

A hacker attack on the power system “could deny large regions of the country access to bulk system power for weeks or even months,” which would generate “turmoil, widespread public fear and an image of helplessness that would play directly into the hands of the terrorists.”

Last year, the leaked version of Obama’s cybersecurity executive order is a compromise by the administration offered to those concerned about Big Brother controls invading US citizen’s privacy on the Web. One concession outlined is the sharing of Internet traffic information by the US government and private sector corporations involving critical infrastructure and electrical grid. Social media companies would not be held under the same mandate.

The DHS, specifically Secretary Janet Napolitano, will be given the sole power of oversight to reference top-secret intelligence reports only known to her to bases identification of cyberthreats and individual targets.

Napolitano conveyed concern about the possibility of “attacks on our nation’s control systems — the control systems that operate our utilities, our water plants, our pipelines, our financial institutions.”

Susanne Posel is the Chief Editor of Occupy Corporatism. Our alternative news site is dedicated to reporting the news as it actually happens; not as it is spun by the corporately funded mainstream media. You can find us on our Facebook page.

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