Friday, December 18, 2015

Threat perception on the US Power Grid

Having had the privilege to model and study every utility in the continental U.S. power grid, there remains little doubt of terrorist intrusion in the near future that will seriously affect the Nation's infrastructure. In what could originate as a local intrusion, meaning that the SCADA system of a small utility could be hacked, it is likely that the entire power grid could be disrupted by propagating the disturbance through neighboring tie-lines. With a blackout there would be no traffic lights, automated banking systems will not work, gas stations and electric vehicle charging stations would stop service, with backup generators only a few commercial enterprises would operate at their minimum capacities, all modes of transportation will cease. Only those systems that have uninterruptible power supplies would continue to operate, but not for too long. This obviously includes critical services affecting the health and well-being of the society. It is likely that utilities could rapidly restore the system, but the impact has enormous consequences affecting the safety and security of the US. As one researcher describes, this could be done for "Fun and Profit". We could not be far away from the truth of how a terrorist perceives this as a threat on the US power grid.