16 Oct 2010

Is a Smarter Grid a More Secure Grid? What if . . . ?

Written by Jim Pierobon

Just one of the many questions cyber-security experts, along with utilities and consumers, are asking as we deploy smart grid applications is: will all this interconnectivity heighten the expose of homes, businesses and governments to cyber attacks?

“I’m not sure we’re paying enough attention to cyber-security,” asserts Peter Fox-Penner, a principal at the Brattle Group. He said that, within its limited authority, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is weighing in on the challenge.  Proposed legislation would amend the Federal Power Act to give FERC new authority to help guard the grid against the threats it faces.

Author William Forestchen theorizes what happens when an electromagnetic pulse shuts down the nation's power grid.

Such threats give new meaning to energy security and the role it plays in our overall national security. More defense intelligence experts see the Internet, the Web and connected networks as a wholly new and separate ‘theater’ (beyond land, sea and air) demanding attention from the Pentagon, NSA, CIA, and the White House, et al.

If the intelligence and defense communities could not connect the dots prior to September 11, 2001, we have a compelling responsibility to ask what might be going on far under the radar to trigger an attack via the Internet. Reportedly, Iran — not a friendly energy supplier by anybody’s definition — has twice tested its capacity to launch a missile from a ship that could produce a high-altitude explosion, followed by an electromagnetic pulse.

Want a taste how humans would behave after such a calamity? Read One Second After.

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