Wednesday, April 08, 2009

U.S. Electrical Grid Intrusions

The Wall Street Journal reheated the debate of infrastructure vulnerability with an article concerning intrusions into and mapping of the U.S. electrical grid. The report points to China and Russia as the source, but provides almost no details beyond the generalized comments of anonymous sources to substantiate the claims.

One interesting note is the lack of detection of the intrusions by the companies themselves:

"Many of the intrusions were detected not by the companies in charge of the infrastructure but by U.S. intelligence agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.

"Authorities investigating the intrusions have found software tools left behind that could be used to destroy infrastructure components, the senior intelligence official said. He added, "If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on."

Of course, the story is spawning many other reports and analysis including the suggestion that the power grid should be disconnected from the Internet:
"The onetime Counter Terrorism Czar, who famously criticized the Bush Administration for doing little to combat al Qaeda early in his first term before 9/11, chided the Obama Administration for not moving fast enough to decide upon the best defense strategy to counter cyber attacks on key infrastructure.

"One thing you can do is disconnect the power grid control system from the internet," Clarke said. "There's no reason for it to be connected."
This could be said of many critical systems. One such system that is rarely discussed is emergency communications including 911 systems that have slowly been connecting to the Internet despite security issues.

Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated By Spies
Disconnect electrical grid from Internet, former terror czar Clarke warns

No comments: