Attacks on the electric grid

The February 6 Los Angeles Times article below raises the specter of machine-gun-armed terrorists storming substations.

Attack on electric grid raises alarm
Damage to power station in shooting last year prompts worries over terrorism, Evan Halper and Marc Lifsher

Shooters armed with assault rifles and some knowledge of electrical utilities have prompted new worries on the vulnerability of California’s vast power grid.

A 2013 attack on an electric substation near San Jose that nearly knocked out Silicon Valley’s power supply was initially downplayed as vandalism by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the facility’s owner. Gunfire from semiautomatic weapons did extensive damage to 17 transformers that sent grid operators scrambling to avoid a blackout.

But this week, a former top power regulator offered a far more ominous interpretation: The attack was terrorism, he said, and if circumstances had been just a little different, it could have been disastrous…

 More at,0,1524716,print.story

Alarming? Perhaps. But what about a much more pervasive and truly alarming threat posed by the government-sponsored  Smart Meter/Smart Grid program and the tech industry’s “internet of things”? What about something that could take down whole segments of the grid or the entire national grid, with a flick of the finger?

In one of many articles on cyber security threats to the Smart Grid, Jesse Berst writes:

Are smart homes a security threat to electric power utilities?
 July 31, 2013, Smart Grid News —

Quick Take: As we moved to the Internet of Things (IoT), millions of devices are being hooked up to the Internet. And each one creates another point of vulnerability, as economist Lynne Kiesling pointed out recently in a blog at

Much of the effort around grid security emphasizes securing access to control rooms and substations. Less attention goes to the security of home automation systems that “touch” the grid…

More at:

Grid shutdown? A certainty with this dangerous system, thanks to federal and state officials, and private industry.

Who will pay the price? We will.

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