What It Would Really Take to Knock Out the Power Grid

The American homeland is one attack on only nine substations away from going in the dark. A critical portion also doesn’t even need to be hacked, as sniper rifle fire was enough to already get the job done on one power station in April of 2013. If the bad guys only wanted to wreak havoc instead of 100% destruction, they would take advantage of the vulnerable SCADA system, where medication dosages for example, could be manipulated.

Sadly, the most of what’s being done to mitigate such threats are only warnings written in articles like this. There’s a lot of lights and cameras, but no action.

 

 

As our electrical system lifts itself out of the stone age, the defense built around it will require added vigilance.

My favorite joke when I was 5 years old was, “Where will you be when the lights go out?” The answer, of course, is “in the dark,” though I used to make my very patient sister guess a bunch of other places first, which I used to think was absolutely hilarious.

We are fortunate that in this country having the lights unexpectedly go out is actually a pretty big deal, and quite rare. You don’t have to wonder whether the light will come on when you throw the switch, or if your computer will have enough power to boot up. The sodas in the fridge are always cold and our showers are always warm. It always just happens, so we more or less take it for granted. Continue reading

FBI warn ISIL hackers plan local blackouts in U.S. power grid

There doesn’t even need to be any hackers involved. Nine substations being taken out will send America back into the stone ages and claim upwards of 9 out of 10 American lives. That’s how safe the U.S. electrical grid is. The electrical grid in central California has already been attacked with sniper rifles in what’s likely a dry run. It was reported an entire year later after the incident, then whitewashed as a non-threat.

As for the rest of the infrastructure, control of SCADAs is key — something China and Russia likely can manipulate. From there, sewage systems could be forced to flood the streets and medication dosages for the sick and elderly could be manipulated.

 

The terror group’s hackers have attempted cyberattacks in the U.S., but aren’t skilled enough to succeed, the FBI said. Still, though, ISIL may have the cash to fund cyberattacks on U.S. targets.

“Strong intent. Thankfully, low capability,” John Riggi, a section chief in the FBI’s cyber division, told CNN. “But the concern is that they’ll buy that capability.” Continue reading

Gas Passes Coal As Top U.S. Power Source

Thanks to increased production of North American gas and new regulations limiting the use of coal, electric power generation in the United States now relies more on gas than on coal for the first time ever.

A recent report by the research firm SNL Energy, based on information from the Energy Information Administration, says gas generated about 31 percent of electric power in April, a small but historic one percent more than was generated by coal. Nuclear power accounted for only about 20 percent, the report says. Continue reading

California moves to restrict water pumping by pre-1914 rights holders

http://www.trbimg.com/img-557b2487/turbine/la-me-ln-drought-water-rights-20150612-001

 

For the first time in nearly 40 years, state regulators are telling more than 100 growers and irrigation districts with some of the oldest water rights in California that they have to stop drawing supplies from drought-starved rivers and streams in the Central Valley.

The curtailment order, issued Friday by the State Water Resources Control Board, has been expected for weeks. Earlier this spring, the board halted diversions under some 8,700 junior rights. With snowmelt reduced to a trickle this year, there simply isn’t enough water flowing in rivers to meet the demand of all those with even older rights predating 1914.

And as flows continue to decline this summer, board officials said, they expect to issue more curtailments, stopping river pumping by more senior diverters. Continue reading

Lake Mead Has Dropped To Its Lowest Level Ever

Lake Mead

 

Less water, less electricity

California isn’t the only one having a water crisis. Yesterday, Lake Mead sank to its lowest level yet. The watery behemoth created by the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s was reduced to a mere 1,080.07 feet above sea level, minimally smaller than the previous record of 1,080.19 set last August. Continue reading

Russia Infiltrates Vital U.S. Computer Networks

Hundreds of thousands of Americans may be at the mercy of Russia.

Hackers successfully breached the unclassified Executive Office of the President (eop) network in October.

“Any such activity is something we take very seriously. In this case, we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity,” a White House official said. “Our actions are ongoing, and some have resulted in some temporary outages and loss of connectivity for our users.” Continue reading