A new report funded by the Department of Energy says cyber attacks that could disable the electrical grid could be more the stuff of Hollywood movies, than reality. So far the juice is still flowing to homes and businesses and no cyber attacks, criminal or otherwise, have shut down any power systems in the U.S. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners just released a report advising state regulators on how to prevent cyber attacks. The study says realistically, smaller attacks could mess things up without creating any blackouts.
“While natural disasters, human error, software bugs or equipment breakdowns can be the origins of a system failure, deliberate attacks involve the element of intent – a person at the other end of the operation with the capability to bring down a system specifically outside its existing protective barriers. Malicious attacks threaten utilities on multiple levels in ways that sometimes overlap and compound each other.”
The report breaks down the cyber-security threats into three areas: IT, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and the smart grid. As with anything, complete security is impossible. But it’s good to know someone is thinking about this.