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#277366 - 10/29/15 04:38 AM Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book
barbakane Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 205
Loc: Florida
Ted koppel has written a book about a cyber attack on the nations electrical grid. I got an advanced reader's copy, and it is really eye opening. I'll share some of the major points, and here is a link to a recent tv appearance:

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/lights-out-ted-koppel-on-electric-grid-cyber-threats/

There is an assumption that the city, state, or federal government has a contigency plan for the grid going down. Sorry folks, you are on your own.

There are three grids that generate and distribute power throughout the country. Interrupting any one of those would cause millions to be in the dark.

The US, with the help of Israel, was the first nation to use a cyber attack as a weapon of policy..against Iran's nuclear centrifuges. They appeared to be operating normally to the techs watching them, but they were literally tearing themselves apart. The same would happen with an attack on the grid. Everything would look normal until it was way to late.

The federal agencies equipped to monitor the grid for cyber attack can't because privacy laws prohibit them from doing so.

Adhering to power industry standards is entirely voluntary.

Banks spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on security, but still get hacked.

Studies show that it took an average of almost 300 days before companies that had been breached ever learned about it.

Large power transformers are huge, expensive, custom built, and, for the most part, not inter-changeable. Most are built overseas, and take at least 6 months to build. Only the very largest companies have spares.

It's estimated that it would cost $2 billion to start to secure the existing grid. Conservative estimates put the cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars at over $1 trillion.

The mormons are perhaps the best prepared of all groups to ride out a major power grid failure.

That is a quick synopsis of the first half of the book.

If this is something that is high on your list of possible scenarios to plan for, this is a must read. Hopefully this will start a national discusion.

Please, without getting political, share your thoughts after you read the book.
_________________________
seeking to balance risk and reward
Audaces fortuna iuvat...fortune favors the bold
Practice methodical caution...Les Stroud

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#277369 - 10/29/15 02:29 PM Re: Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book [Re: barbakane]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5728
Loc: southern Cal
At least ETS'ers will have their paracord properly flaked, ready for instant deployment....

Makes you think that a distributed grid system, with a lot of relatively independent solar panels on rooftops, would make a lot of sense....
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Geezer in Chief

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#277370 - 10/29/15 03:00 PM Re: Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book [Re: barbakane]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 822
Loc: Southern California
I've got rooftop solar hooked to the grid. If the grid goes down, the inverter disconnects the panels. It's a safety measure to prevent electrocuting anybody working on the wires.

The actual amount of power returned to the grid is bupkis. The panels offset what the house uses on an annual basis, but there's not much leftover.

EDIT: I don't actually own the panels. I got them as part of a PPA. To be able to legally run the house directly off the panels, I would be looking at ~$40k to buy the system from the utility.


Edited by Mark_R (10/29/15 03:24 PM)
_________________________
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

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#277371 - 10/29/15 03:02 PM Re: Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book [Re: barbakane]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1650
Most rooftop solar systems are tied in to the grid. No grid = no power. Having it independant or switchable from grid tied to independant, means a lot more cash to be invested in the solar systems.

I research the effects of a large scale power failure for a large exercise and found that in my country:
- Regular consumers; fend for yourself.
- Fire and rescue, will get you out of the elevator.
- Sensitive organisations/buildings (hospitals, other care facilities, the water company) are equipped with emergency power generators.
- Emergency planning is for failure of backup power generation at sensitive organisations/buildings.
- Water pressure will remain on for a long time, since the water company have a independant emergency power generator and fuel. However delivered at 2 bar on ground level, so bad luck if you life up high.
- Our grid is redundant at the 150KV level. lower voltage lines are not redundant, but due to they way they are tied to each other, they can switch power from other connections from the 150KV grid and effectively reduce the size of the power outage.
- There are build in safetys in the grid to absorb power spikes.
- We have black start facility's used to restart regular power stations (pretty impressive gasturbine generator)

Fun part: crisis command centre was just equipped with new computers and big flat screens. Guys pressing al the power buttons at the start of exercise, power goes down... "Is this part of the training?", uhmm... No... Fuses blew. Electrician made a mistake with the new stuff. Atleast we found it during an exercise...
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#277372 - 10/29/15 03:25 PM Re: Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 977
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: hikermor
At least ETS'ers will have their paracord properly flaked, ready for instant deployment....

Yup! Add a pencil sharpener and a couple of bags of coal and we don't need no stinkin' grid!
wink
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#277373 - 10/29/15 04:07 PM Re: Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book [Re: barbakane]
JeffMc Offline
Member

Registered: 05/10/15
Posts: 129
Loc: Northwest Florida
I'm very far from an expert on this subject, but I recall some conversations indicating that there are some fairly simple things that utilities can do to substantially harden their systems against things like cyber attacks and EMP. But apparently there are costs involved and no regulatory requirements or other incentives for taking such measures.

There's another novel out that discusses our cyber vulnerabilities with respect to our national defense. It has attracted considerable notice in navalist and strategic planning circles. It's called "Ghost Fleet" by P. W. Singer. http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Fleet-Novel-Next-World/dp/0544142845

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#277375 - 10/29/15 06:07 PM Re: Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book [Re: JeffMc]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
We have recently upgraded our diesel fuel tank for the apartment complex generator (tripled the size). So at least we should not be stuck in elevators, and our public space lights, water pumps, and entrance/exit gates will be functional for quite a while. Also we have huge cellars under each building with per unit cages, it's quite cold there, so we can store some perishable food for the recovery period.

For the electrical grid cybersecurity, it is quite possible that the author simply has no good enough grasp of the network security measures and secured network architectures available and implemented. Banks and online shops are no good as an indicator at all, as they have to be wide open to the public and other businesses to work properly. Just use an Intranet without any physical Internet connections and you are safe as long as you don't have a sabotaging spy among your employees. But that worked perfectly during millennias of pre-cyber era.

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#277376 - 10/29/15 06:08 PM Re: Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book [Re: AKSAR]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Originally Posted By: AKSAR
Originally Posted By: hikermor
At least ETS'ers will have their paracord properly flaked, ready for instant deployment....

Yup! Add a pencil sharpener and a couple of bags of coal and we don't need no stinkin' grid!
wink

Nope! D.Ritter PSP will save you from any disaster!

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#277380 - 10/29/15 08:50 PM Re: Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book [Re: barbakane]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1890
Loc: Washington, DC

On a related note (grid shutting down), from today's Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capi...eather-threats/


"In 2012, NASA said the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with Earth. “If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado told NASA two years after it happened."


National Space Weather Action Plan -- released today.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default...an_20151028.pdf



.



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#277381 - 10/30/15 01:38 AM Re: Ted Koppel's "Lights Out" book [Re: Alex]
barbakane Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 205
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: Alex


For the electrical grid cybersecurity, it is quite possible that the author simply has no good enough grasp of the network security measures and secured network architectures available and implemented.


The internet was designed to be completely open. To try to put the genie back in the bottle is impossible.

Russia has confirmed that Iraq was successful in recruiting some top engineers to deal specifically with EMP and power grid security.

If anyone has their home wired to be accessable wirelessly..that is be able to turn the lights off/on, control their thermostat, etc..that is another vulnerability. A disatisfied employee could cause complete havoc if that is the wish.

The intrusion into Sony may be seen as an escalation in cyber terror.

Iran hacked into a Saudi company, Aramco, in 2012 effectively rendering their 30,000 computers useless. Per the NSA it was their answer to Stuxnet.

Anyone with a flash drive and a usb port...well, you get the idea.
_________________________
seeking to balance risk and reward
Audaces fortuna iuvat...fortune favors the bold
Practice methodical caution...Les Stroud

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