Smart Grid may be Hacked to Generate Blackouts

John Teller jsteller at
Mon Mar 23 12:39:54 CDT 2009

I think the "reporters" are adding a big dollop of Y2K-style fear in order to sell their product or make a point.  Mission critical equipment has to exhibit a very high level of resistance to interference and hacking.  The utilities are very, very aware of this - I think it would be difficult if not impossible to drive your car up to a dam or sewage processor these days and open the SCADA controlled flood gates with some junk you bought off eBay.  Yes, there will always be cases of arrogance, ignorance and just plain incompetence, but I think (I hope) everyone has learned from the BPL debacle.  That's not to say that the ARRL Et. Al. shouldn't continue to hold the manufacturer's feet to the fire, but I just don't see where people should start to panic.

--- JST

Many AMRAD members will recall our work on LF and the effort to provide 
amateurs a small LF band.  In the end, the power companies were opposed 
because their unlicensed signaling over the power lines might be 
interfered with by amateurs.

Manassas put up a BPL system that caused a lot of interference with the 
HF bands and amateur radio.  Now they are looking to use the BPL 
infrastructure they built for the city to use for reading meters and 
controlling traffic lights.  This suggests they are moving towards some 
of the same concepts of the smart grid.

Now we see it reported that the new smart grid technology might be 
vulnerable to intentional interference/manipulation that could shut down 
the power grid causing a widespread blackout.  In the government's 
effort to spend money they are talking about spending $4.5 billion in 
smart grid technology.

We could find Amateur Radio once again on the defensive as some would 
think interference from amateurs would shut down the grid.  We need to 
keep an eye on this technology and hopefully we can get some amateurs on 
the decision making boards for this technology.


Frank K0BRA
Tacos mailing list
Tacos at

More information about the Tacos mailing list